April 1st was the deadline for thousands of foreign temporary workers to leave Canada. Back in 2011, the Conservative set the date for temporary foreign workers in low-skilled jobs to either become permanent residents or return home. While a few managed to qualify for PR status, the vast majority with low skills failed. When the program was rolled out it was made very clear to all temp workers that once they completed four years, they had to leave and could only apply to come back to work four years later. But from the reactions that range from shock to disbelief and even outrage, it is evident that most temporary workers came to Canada with no intention of going back.
Some came with their families and are now loathe to going back home after getting really comfortable here.
Some estimate there are close to 70,000 temporary workers that could be impacted. Many businesses are already lobbying on behalf of the workers urging the government to reconsider the decision given how dependent they are on foreign workers.
Alberta is home to a majority of temp workers, but there are estimated to be several hundred of them working here in Ontario as well.
Many of these workers were brought in to take low-paying jobs few Canadians were interested in, but critics of the program maintained that temp workers were infact depressing wages and employers had little incentive to make wages more attractive for Canadians to consider taking such jobs.
Meanwhile as the Canadian economy slows and Alberta which for long has been the engine of the economy sputters with lower oil prices, unemployment numbers are on the rise, the government has little choice but to ensure Canadians have the first shot at jobs. The problem is how to persuade unemployed Canadians to take what is available, even if that means working in a low paying job until better jobs come along.