Canadian Manufacturing

National labour group laughs off changes to foreign worker program

Canadian Labour Congress said application fee charged to employers doesn't cover processing cost

OTTAWA—A Canadian labour group is calling out the federal government’s “tinkering” with the temporary foreign worker program, claiming recent changes “fail to address fundamental flaws” in the plan.

Addressing changes made last week to the controversial program that was in the news for all the wrong reasons earlier this year, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) cried foul, particularly taking aim at a new application fee charged to employers looking to import workers.

With the feds announcing employers would now be hit with a $275 fee for each application made under the temporary foreign worker program, CLC president Ken Georgetti claimed the fee falls short of recovering the cost of processing an application by about $67.

According to Georgetti, the cost to process an application was allegedly calculated to be $342 about four years ago.

“The government is trying to patch gaping holes in the integrity of the (program) with half-hearted reforms,” Georgetti said in a statement. “But this falls far short of what is needed.”

Georgetti said other reforms, like increasing the length of time employers must advertise job postings before filing a request to import a foreign worker, can’t be enforced and rely heavily on employers and employment brokers acting with integrity.

“With less than 15 staff in the (temporary foreign worker program) unit dedicated to investigations and over 340,000 temporary work permits issued in 2012 alone, this translates into a case load of more than 24,000 applications for each (employee) to monitor,” Georgetti said.

“Nothing in the government’s announcement shows a real commitment to cracking down on the abuses that remain with this program.”

The changes to the program took effect July 31.

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