Check merit, not citizenship, say students

Mar 28, 2024 | Canadian News, News

Immigration Minister Marc Miller, announced last Thursday the federal government would cap the number of temporary workers coming to Canada till 2027.

The minister said Canada will decrease the amount of temporary workers in Canada to five per cent from the current 6.5 per cent of Canada’s population.

Miller in his March 21, 2024 speech, said “programs that welcome temporary residents must reflect the needs and changing demands of the labour market.”

“Our labour market needs are tightening, so should our policies,” he said. “As we gradually reduce our reliance on temporary foreign workers, we will continue to help employers fill job vacancies while supporting Canadian workers.”

An international student at Humber College, Shane Cunanan said she believed employment should be based on merit, not citizenship or residency.

“They should get [the job] that fits with their educational background or their experiences,” she said.

The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program says a temporary worker is a foreign employee hired to fill jobs for a set period which cannot be filled by Canadian residents or immigrants.

Statistics Canada said in May 2023 there were 70,000 temporary workers in 2022, a rise of 15.4 per cent from 2021.

As of March 2022, there were more higher-wage temporary workers than lower-wage workers, Stat Canada said.

Higher-income workers include skilled workers within the agriculture, academic and caregiver streams, StatCan said.

Randy Boissonnault, minister of employment, said Canada intends to further reduce its reliance on foreign workers and find employees among the Canadian labour force.

“The time-limited measures we introduced in 2022 were necessary as our labour market was facing unprecedented conditions,” Boissonnault said. “But now, as times change, we must ensure our Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program reflects our current needs.”

Canada’s 2022 budget was committed to transitioning away from TFWs and developing a new foreign labour program.

The budget was meant to ensure food producers have sufficient labour while transitioning to increased employment of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The budget outlined improvements to the TFW program including the collaboration between Canada and the nations exporting their labour.

It said the improvements would build a more robust system that would increase protections for temporary worker rights.

The current TFW program asks employers to submit an application called a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

The LMIA is a form that employers fill out to describe their needs and the lack of Canadian applicants applying for temporary positions.

Neither the Progressive Conservatives nor the New Democratic Party have made a statement about the cap and its implications.

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), which provides representation for refugee and immigration cases and questions among other services, told Humber News in an email that “the recently announced measure won’t affect LAO much.”