ICYMI: My BTW on TFW not quite LOL

I have received several emails about this issue regarding the Saskatchewan waitresses that were turfed and replaced by temporary foreign workers (TFWs).    On the CBC this morning a professor was talking about how many of the 1,000+ comments to the story were starting to sound a lot like xenophobia.

Look, it’s pretty simple.  If there are qualified Canadians willing to do the job and will stick with it, etc. they should be hired in advance of TFWs.   If employers are violating the rules of the TFW program, it should be addressed but I would say there are many cases where it is not that cut and dried.   A number of employers I have talked to that have felt they have needed to use the TFW program have cited problems like ‘lack of motivation’ among the local workforce.  They will hire people, get very little work out of them and watch them quit after only a few weeks or months.

Of course there are New Brunswickers that are qualified to work retail and assembly line manufacturing but they don’t want to work those jobs.   I’m not sure how else to say this.  If the feds tighten the criteria even further around the TFW program, it will hurt these businesses.   I guess we can cavalierly say we don’t want those jobs anyway but I’m not convinced that is the right attitude.  For generations, immigrants (and I know the distinction with TFWs) have come here to work in front line service, retail and assembly line jobs across Canada (not as much here in recent decades).   For many of them, that is a big improvement over their past life.

Anyway, not to rehash my argument on this.  It’s on these pages in black and white.  I think we need a substantial infusion of new immigrants – to foster economic growth and renew the population around New Brunswick.  For me this imperative is not at odds with efforts to get New Brunswickers working.

For those who worry about xenophobia, I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying.  Canada is an immigrant nation and it is a tolerant place.  Sure there will be some friction when cultures collide (i.e. when folks from Albert County interact with folks from Kent County) but in the end that will only make New Brunswick stronger and richer as a place to live.

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2 Responses to ICYMI: My BTW on TFW not quite LOL

  1. mikel says:

    As for xenophobia, New Brunswickers as ‘immigrants’ goes a few generations back, so I’m not sure most NBers see themselves as immigrants. Also, its important to note that these are NOT immigrants, they are temporary foreign workers. Its a valid point in NB to ask why the program isn’t simply replaced with permanent immigrant status.

    Apart from the economics, there is a moral view to that. These people are essentially indentured servants, in the point made out west, practically slaves (who ironically aren’t getting as much work as they want, or the overtime).

    We saw a report on the CBC about a tailor, and many people commented that they actually applied to that employer and never even got an interview, some stated that it did not offer full time hours. Its been pointed out, but not proven, that Ganong never had a dental plan for its employee’s until just three years ago.

    Employers have various needs, which are not often the same as employees. What can be called ‘lack of motivation’, as I said before, could well be pre occupation with family issues, with mental issues, or with economic issues. Many of these jobs are part time, or full time at minimum wage, which results in employees having to work multiple jobs and juggle schedules, yet many job postings indicate that they do not offer flexibility.

    I”m in landscaping and its a perfect case in point. During the spring if you want a job, you pretty much HAVE to take a job working 60 hours a week doing pretty brutal and often unsafe work. Then in the summer hours are cut back, and typically people are simply let go after the autumn, and contrary to what you may think, even though you’ve paid into unemployment you are only entitled to get that back every three years or so (it may have changed now, this was about a decade and a half ago).

    So its pretty easy to see why employers might think employees are ‘not motivated’, for their lousy, short term, seasonal, unsafe, jobs. Some of those jobs are also lousy because of the owners, who typically have zero human resources skills and no money for such things, some, in my experience, are downright hellish for those reasons.

    And of course that doesn’t even get into agricultural-the operative word being ‘cultural’ jobs. One rural farm up north talked about how hard it was to find workers at its chicken processing plant. Now, what kind of sick _______ would actually want to work at killing chickens, or anything for that matter? It wouldn’t matter if it paid 60 grand a year, which they certainly don’t,it would still be a sucky job that few people would seriously consider.

    So absolutely, this is not cut and dried, there are hundreds of issues mixed up in it. But foremost, New Brunswick needs immigrants to add to its population, it doesn’t need ‘temporary workers’. This actually works against that because if the jobs and immigrant were ‘permanent’ then it would add to the population. If companies are burning through temporary workers, then it doesn’t add to the province’s population bottom line anyway.

  2. John says:

    The Macdonald’s in Shediac is staffed by Filipino temporary foreign workers. Does this mean that students and other young people don’t have an oppportunity to work weekends there? I thought that New Brunswick had a high unemployment rate!

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