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.