Canada’s phantom skills shortage and the TFW Program

A new report from Toronto Dominion Bank released Tuesday highlights an inconvenient fact for the Conservative government: there’s little evidence of a widespread skills and labour shortage in Canada.

So why has the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, pitched by the Conservatives as a solution to Canada’s skills shortage, been growing steadily? Last year, 213,573 workers were admitted into Canada – a big jump from 2000.

Behind the numbers is a story of abuse: companies displacing Canadian workers and replacing them with lower waged foreign workers, toiling away for below-market pay. It almost looks like there’s a push for a low-wage economy.

And despite changes announced earlier this year to require employers to provide greater proof that they’ve exhausted domestic alternatives, the Institute for Research on Public Policy released a report last week calling on the federal government to go further. Ottawa needs to cap the number of temporary workers permitted to work in Canada each year to prevent "excessive reliance," the report says.

A week later, we get the TD report. How inconvenient for the Conservative government.

Photo: ChodHound. Used under a Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 licence.

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