Temporary foreign worker program lowers wages, thwarts training, economists say.
by Tavia Grant for The Globe and Mail
The growth of Canada’s temporary foreign worker program has created distortions in the labour market, from downward pressure on wages in some sectors to acting as a disincentive to train workers, economists say.
Documents obtained by The Globe and Mail this week show 33,000 employers, spanning all sectors, have used the program in recent years.
The huge uptake, which totalled more than 330,000 foreign workers last year, has likely suppressed wages in some industries, such as retail and construction, and affected opportunities for youth and immigrants, labour market experts say. And the rush to use foreign workers has created problems on the training front.
“Canada already has an abysmal record on training and this is another incentive not to train existing workers,” said Robert Fairholm, partner and economist at the Milton, Ontario-based Centre for Spatial Economics. “Not training people who are here can be very detrimental because we’re hollowing out skills in the country … and that has the potential for big negative long-term consequences.”…StraightGoods.ca