CALGARY, May 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program
(TFWP) has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks. A report
published today by The School of Public Policy examines the effect of
the program on the supply and demand of domestic labour. Author Kevin
McQuillan finds that there is no general labour shortage here in Canada
that would warrant a reliance on foreign workers. Instead, he argues
that Canada needs to scale back the TFWP and build a skilled workforce
"The number of admissions under the TFWP has nearly tripled in 25 years,
from 65,000 to 182,000 in 2010," McQuillan writes. "The primary
justification for the expansion of the program has been the widespread
assumption that Canada is suffering from a growing shortage of labour.
Yet, it is hard to find any evidence to support this belief."
He does concede that there are worker shortages in specific industries
and specific regions. However, Canada can respond to these challenges
without relying on foreign workers by promoting success for younger
workers here at home.
Specifically, industry and government need to encourage more young
people to pursue an education and careers in fields where jobs are
available. McQuillan highlights two potential methods for altering
enrollment patterns in post-secondary institutions: strategic funding
by government into schools/programs that match labour market needs, and
variable pricing tuition, which would mean charging more for programs
in fields where there is already an excess of labour.
McQuillan also argues the Canadian government and employers need to work
together to reduce barriers to the mobility of labour across provinces,
including the perceived costs of migration. Some form of incentive,
such as a tax break, could be employed to encourage displacement.
Government and employers should also work closely together on
recruitment initiatives in areas of high unemployment.
In addition to the scaling back of the TFWP, McQuillan advocates a
series of other immigration policies that can help Canada build a
Holding the immigration rate close to the current rate of roughly 0.7
per cent of the population
Consider linking admissions to the business cycle: trimming targets in
recessions and increasing them during buoyant economic times
Develop consistent national standards for education and language ability
for all admitted in the economic class
The report can be found at www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/publications
SOURCE: The School of Public Policy - University of Calgary
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