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CFIB proposes permanent solutions to chronic labour shortages


December 3, 2014
By Canadian Pizza

Topics

Dec. 3, 2014, Toronto – The Temporary Foreign Worker Program should be
replaced with a stronger solution to address permanent labour shortages,
said the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in a report this
week.

Dec. 3, 2014, Toronto – The Temporary Foreign Worker Program should be
replaced with a stronger solution to address permanent labour shortages, said the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in a report this week.

Geared towards entry-level workers, CFIB’s proposed Introduction to Canada Visa
would simultaneously address critical shortages for small businesses
while providing a clear path to permanent residence for foreign
workers.  

“Canada was built by people who decided to take a
chance, come here, and work hard to make a new life for themselves and
their families,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly, in a news release. “The Introduction to Canada Visa would open up those opportunities once again. You shouldn’t need a PhD to live the Canadian Dream.”

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Myths,
misconceptions and controversy around the TFWP brought on
ill-advised changes, which have cut off a vital lifeline for many
employers and largely barred from the program employers in the
restaurant, retail and hotel sectors in much of the country, said the release. The Introduction to Canada Visa is the association's proposed solution.

“One
of the legitimate criticisms of the TFW program is that it was often
employing temporary workers to fill permanent labour market needs,” said Kelly. “Given the massive cost of turn-over, small businesses
would much rather hire someone who is not temporary, but the permanent
immigration system largely prohibits anyone with more junior skill sets.
We need workers at all skill levels, including for entry-level jobs,
and that need isn’t going away.”

CFIB’s proposed new visa would
give foreign workers in entry-level categories an opportunity to work
with an employer for two years as a defined step towards permanent
residency. Other features include:

  • Employer must have one Canadian employee at same wage rate to have one Intro Visa
  • Ability to switch employers, not sectors or regions, if commitments not kept
  • Strict national and provincial enforcement

The
report also challenges the assumptions that employers are somehow using
foreign workers as a source of cheap labour. In fact, almost 70 per
cent of small business owners who have used the TFWP say it costs them
more than hiring Canadian workers.

In addition to the Introduction to Canada Visa,
the report recommends other options, including allowing current
applicants for permanent residency to stay until processing is complete,
recalibrating the new $1,000 fee, allowing more flexibility for
restaurants, retailers and hotels, and dropping the target for a 10 per cent
workforce cap on foreign workers.