Ottawa poised to ease rules for temporary foreign worker program

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The Federal government is moving toward watering down the rules governing for temporary foreign workers following complaints from Canadian employers.

Going forward employers who’ve been in the program the longest are being exempted from further ?reductions in the proportion of their workforce that aren’t citizens.

Meat, fruit and vegetable processors are welcoming a recent announcement that reductions in the temporary foreign workers programs have been frozen for now.

Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk recently said employers registered in the Temporary Foreign Worker Programs (TFWP) prior to June 2014 will be able to continue to use up to 20 per cent non-citizens in their workforce — if they can’t find Canadians to fill the jobs.

Employers who hired foreign workers after June 2014 will still have to reduce their foreign workforce to 10 per cent, under rules brought in by the former Harper government.

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Meanwhile a spokesperson for the Canadian Horticulture Council, said the association’s labor committee believes fruit and vegetable processors need special consideration when it comes to foreign workers.

Mihychuk called her action a prudent step while the government works on a plan it will announce later this year to address the problems with the program.

“We want to ensure that the rights of those working through the program are protected, that it is not undermining job opportunities for Canadians and that there is a pathway to permanent residency for eligible applicants,” she said.

“Every employer applying to the TFWP will still need to meet all program requirements, including making efforts to ensure that Canadians and permanent residents have first access to available jobs.”

Perhaps the thousands of refugees and newcomers who are finding it hard to land jobs could be trained to take on these jobs given that language isn’t a barrier for jobs like meat packaging and agriculture. – CINEWS

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