VANCOUVER, March 7, 2014 /CNW/ - Ironworkers Local 97, representing
structural and reinforcing ironworkers throughout British Columbia,
today criticized the Federal Government's announcement that up to
10,700 International Experience Class (IEC) work permits will be issued
allowing Irish people under the age of 35 to live and work in Canada
for up to two years, saying this would lead to job losses and lower
wages for Canadians.
The IEC Program, on its face, provides for 2,500 visas for young
professionals, 500 visas for an international co-op category, and 7,700
visas for 'working holiday' applicants.
"This program circumvents the requirement for employers to prove there
is a shortage of Canadian workers before hiring non-Canadians, and also
removes the requirement for employers to pay the prevailing wage rate
for a particular job," stated Doug Parton, Business Agent, Ironworkers,
"Typically, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)
requires an employer to demonstrate that it has advertised for a job
vacancy but been unable to fill the position. HRSDC also requires an
employer to pay that temporary foreign worker the prevailing wage rate
for that position in Canada. While there have been abuses of the
Temporary Foreign Worker program in the past, the Ironworkers Union
continues to be supportive of the TFW Program, when it is properly
policed," Doug Parton continued.
"However, the IEC program opens the door to over 10,000 Irish workers
coming to Canada, potentially displacing Canadian workers, and
potentially working for lower wages than those earned by Canadian
workers," said Doug Parton.
"With very limited checks and balances in place, and none of the
safeguards that the TFW Program has, Ironworkers Local 97 believes this
program will be used to allow employers to circumvent the stricter
requirements that the Federal Government introduced to restrict the
flood of TFW's after the HD Mining case in British Columbia last year,"
continued Doug Parton.
"We are particularly concerned that 'Young Professional Category', which
purportedly allows Irish students to further their careers by gaining
work experience in Canada, in fact has no such restrictions and will
allow anyone with a job offer from a Canadian employer to apply under
this category," said Doug Parton.
"Make no mistake, Ironworkers Local 97 is in favour of bringing in
temporary foreign workers, when a skills shortage has been proven, in
order that our contractors can continue to build British Columbia. We
also support targeted immigration, and we are aware our country was
built by immigrants. But this should only happen when an employer can
show a demonstrable inability to hire Canadian workers, and when the
temporary foreign worker is paid the same wage rate as a Canadian
worker. Without these checks and balances in place, unscrupulous
employers will take advantage of the IEC program as a means to lower
their wage costs," concluded Doug Parton.
Ironworkers Local 97 is calling on Citizenship and Immigration Minister
Chris Alexander to direct officials in his department to ensure the IEC
program is not abused by Canadian employers, and that the Young
Professional Category visas are only issued to Irish students wanting
to enhance their degree-related work experience. The Young Professional
Category should not be used either to allow unemployed Irish
construction workers to displace Canadian workers or to allow Canadian
employers to avoid the requirements of the TFW program.
SOURCE: Ironworkers Local 97
For further information:
Doug Parton - Business Agent
Ironworkers, Local 97
6891 Macpherson Avenue
Burnaby BC V5J 4N2