Union leaders in B.C. and Alberta are upset with changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) program that reduces the time it takes for employers to hire skilled trades people, but the Merit Contractors Association is applauding the federal initiative.
“This is a complete sell out to employers, who want access to cheap labour” said Tom Sigurdson, executive director of the B.C. and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council.
“These are vulnerable workers, many unable to speak English and unwilling to complain about unsafe workplaces and abuses to workplace rights.”
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSD) Diane Finley announced on April 25 that the federal government intends to make the TFW program more responsive to skilled labour shortages.
“Our government is looking at ways to make sure businesses recruit from the domestic workforce before hiring temporary foreign workers, while also reducing the paper burden and speeding up the processing time for employers that have short-term skilled labour needs,” said Finley during a tour of Advance Engineered Products Ltd.’s manufacturing facility in Nisku, Alberta.
Employers with a strong track record will receive an Accelerated-Labour Market Opinion (ALMO) within 10 business days.
If approved, it will allow them to hire temporary foreign workers in high-skill occupations, including the skilled trades.