© David Micalef - 2019

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The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program is a program which allows companies and organizations within Canada to hire non-residents or non-citizens for the purpose of filling job positions.

The reasoning behind the need for this program is that there may be positions that are difficult to fill due to a lack of skill, experience, or willingness within Canada. To resolve this, the TFW program allows anyone in the world to temporarily move to Canada to fill these positions. The hiring company must demonstrate that it has reasonably attempted to find a Canadian citizen to fill the position.

While in theory this program seems reasonable, it is prone to abuse. An example of this abuse is the Murray River Project, spearheaded by HD Mining International, a Chinese mining company, who only hired Chinese nationals, while mining on Canadian soil. No Canadians were hired.

Migrant workers in a number of industries, such as the food and agriculture industry, are prone to abuse by employers. This abuse includes being coerced in to performing unsafe tasks or risk being fired. How can Canadians say they want to help those around the world have a better life and yet support a program that allows vulnerable immigrants to be abused? I do not blame these workers, as they are just trying to make a living. I believe that the fault lies with employers willing to abuse the system.

Why are Canadians unable to fill these positions? What makes the TFW program necessary? Positions aren't filled by Canadians for the following reasons:

  1. The pay is not competitive;

  2. The conditions of employment are undesirable;

  3. The job criteria is impossible to meet;

  4. Companies are not willing to invest in their employees to develop the necessary skills; and

  5. Programs like the TFW program exist, creating an incentive to not hire Canadians.

As an example, the Murray River Project listed fluent Mandarin as a requirement.

The TFW program allows foreigners to be hired at much lower wages than Canadians would reasonably accept. This makes it impossible for Canadians to compete.

I believe that the TFW program is unCanadian. It is clear that these temporary foreign workers are seen as nothing but cheap labor as opposed to skilled individuals that can add value to our country and economy. This is contrary to Canadian values.

I propose we redraft the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to limit abuse.