Auditor General releases damning report on Temporary Foreign Work Program

Confirms longstanding abuse of the program continues despite economic downturn and 2014 reforms 

Edmonton – Earlier today the Auditor General released their audit of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, revealing that recent 2014 reforms and the economic downturn have done little to curb the rampant abuse of the program. 

According to the Auditor General, Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program is rife with oversight problems that appear to have allowed lower-paid international workers to take jobs that out-of-work Canadians could fill. The report found that program officers often accepted weak arguments about why employers were seeking temporary foreign workers and made almost no effort to verify employer claims.

“This is the more of the same from this program, the Federal government rubber stamps applications with no questions asked,” says AFL President Gil McGowan. “This kind of ‘business as usual approach’ to the program during an economic downturn is insulting to out of work Canadians.”

Perhaps most revealingly, the Auditor General’s report stated that their findings indicated that some businesses were building their business model on the program, instead of only accessing TFWs as a last resort. 

“This is what we’ve been saying all along,” says AFL President Gil McGowan. “When we allow companies easy access to temporary foreign workers, employers will build their business model around accessing that cheaper labour.”

The program is supposed to help companies fill job vacancies when Canadians can’t fill these positions and only when the local labour market isn’t negatively impacted. However, Employment and Social Development Canada has done little to ensure employers hire TFWs as a last resort and has made little use of its new powers to identify and prosecute employers who do not comply with the program rules.

Employment and Social Development Canada has stated it will implement the Auditor General’s recommendations, but a long history of failed reforms to the program should have the government questioning its overall viability.

“The evidence is clear, band-aid solutions and tweaks to the TFWP haven’t worked in the past, and they won’t work now,” says McGowan. “It’s time to scrap this program.”

The AFL will continue to advocate for the abolishment of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and for a move to a real immigration system for workers coming in to the country.

Media Contact:

Chris Gallaway

Director of Government Relations, Alberta Federation of Labour

587-984-7569 or cgallaway@afl.org


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