End moratorium, enforce the rules, protect TFWs' rights

CFIB recommendations to minister stress permanent immigration as part of solution

TORONTO, May 15, 2014 /CNW/ - The federal government needs to improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and other programs to address persistent labour shortages, particularly in entry-level positions. This was the message from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) to Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney in a letter this week. CFIB is attending a round table with the Minister in Ottawa today.

"Nobody wants to talk about entry-level jobs, but these positions are not disappearing and employers with positions requiring general customer service skills are often desperate for staff," said CFIB president Dan Kelly. "The TFWP has been one of the few ways for businesses to address this need. Foreign workers are not the only solution, but the need can't be ignored."

The letter shares feedback from frustrated small business owners, including those affected by the current moratorium on use of the TFWP in the restaurant sector. Many condemn any abuse of the program, but implore the government to not paint all employers with the same brush. The letter presents CFIB's recommendations for changes, including:

  • Ending the moratorium on restaurants;
  • Creating a pathway to permanent residence for all TFWs;
  • A Bill of Rights for TFWs;
  • Stricter enforcement of existing rules;
  • An accredited TFW stream for trusted employers;
  • Matching TFW/Canadian wages by employer;
  • Maximum 1:1 ratio of TFWs to Canadians;
  • Allowing permanent immigration for those in entry-level jobs; and
  • Ensuring other government programs (eg. EI) address need for entry-level workers.

"There is a huge disconnect within the immigration system right now," added Kelly. "Canada brings in thousands of lower-skilled TFWs each year, while offering permanent residence to thousands more highly-skilled, highly-educated workers who have no connection to a job in Canada. We need to bring in people based on the needs of the economy and offer all TFWs the opportunity to stay and help build our country on a permanent basis."

These recommendations are a follow-up to survey data released last week confirming most small businesses use the TFWP as a last resort. Read the letter to Minister Kenney at www.cfib.ca.  

CFIB is Canada's largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

For further information: For more information, please contact Gisele Lumsden at 416-222-8022 or public.affairs@cfib.ca.

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