A business lobby group on Friday awarded the federal government's embattled Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) with its Paperweight Award for "ridiculous rules and red tape."
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, representing small- and medium-size businesses, says the TFWP is "maddening at the best of times." And now, the government "has added new requirements, fees and longer wait times."
Let's put CFIB's breathtaking position in context: even Stephen Harper acknowledges businesses have been "abusing" the program and harming Canadian workers "only for the sake of the bottom line profit."
Set aside Harper's hypocrisy and forget all the ways his own government facilitated the rapid growth -- and abuse -- of the program since coming to power in 2006. The result? The sales and services McJobs sector now employs more migrant workers than any other in Canada.
Now, we have a business group attacking baby steps to curb the abuse as "red tape."
Harper's government used to allow employers to pay 15% less to all workers doing the "'high-skilled' job for which temporary work permits were sought, and 5% less for 'low-skill' jobs." And until 2013, the application process was free, translating into a $35 million public subsidy for employers.
Advertising rules have changed, too. Employers could post jobs in Canada for as little as six days before looking for TFWs, down from six weeks. The rule is now 14 days.
"These changes were a knee-jerk reaction to media stories of misuse of the program by a few big businesses and banks, but threaten to drive some small enterprises, that rely on the program and are using it appropriately, out of business," CFIB said Friday.