List of ‘accelerated’ TFW approvals reveals widespread abuse of program

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Alberta Federation of Labour calls for inquiry in light of growing evidence of fraud

Edmonton, April 9 – A list of fast-tracked temporary foreign worker applications shows that scandals at Royal Bank and HD Mining are just the tip of the iceberg.

The document, obtained by the Alberta Federation of Labour through an Access to Information request, lists all approved TFW applications in the first eight months of the new Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (ALMO) process.

Between April 25 and December 18, 2012, more than 2,400 ALMO guest-worker permits – which are supposed to be reserved for highly-skilled employment – have been granted to fast-food restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations.

“You look down this list, and it’s McDonalds, Tim Hortons, A&W, Subway Sandwiches. Are we supposed to believe that these are ‘high-skill’ employment opportunities?” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “These applications have been rubberstamped in as little as ten days, and the vast majority aren’t subjected to any kind of review.”

The Alberta Federation of Labour, the province’s largest labour organization, is calling on the Auditor General of Canada to conduct a full audit of the ALMO approval process.

“In the meantime, this program should be stopped immediately and the federal government should investigate each and every one of these employers to see if there’s wrongdoing,” McGowan said, noting that the labour movement is in favour of immigration. “Workers who want to come to Canada should enjoy the same rights and privileges as other Canadian residents. We shouldn’t be paying them 15 per cent less than Canadians, and the government shouldn’t be whisking them in through an accelerated and duplicitous process.”

More than 54 per cent (2,640) of the ALMO approvals in the country were for Alberta-based employers. Of these, AFL researchers flagged more than 58 per cent (1,542) as questionable. The list of businesses in Alberta who received ALMO approvals included 33 A&W restaurants. The ALMO stream, introduced in last year’s omnibus budget bill, is proving to be the latest evidence that the temporary foreign worker program is part of a low-wage agenda on the part of radical Tea-Party Tories.

“Alberta is leading the way in misusing this approval process,” McGowan said. “This isn’t being used as a stop-gap, and it isn’t a last resort for employers.”

AFL Backgrounder:  ‘Accelerated’ TFW approvals reveals widespread abuse of program



Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell)
Olav Rokne, AFL Communications Director at 780-289-6528 (cell) or via email

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By Sean | December 31, 2013
My son got his first job at a new McDonalds in Alberta, after 2 weeks they started bringing in temp workers and cut back hours for the youth. Last 2 weeks, no shifts and the place is staffed with tfw's. No wonder our youth unemployment rate is double the national average. Our youth want to work part time and gain experience, but where do they work if all their jobs are taken. They should only allow these fast food joints to bring in tfw's for the hard to fill day shifts, there should be enough youth in Alberta to work the traditional part time after school jobs. Keep up the fight.

By Mister Academic | May 31, 2013
The temporary foreign worker program is simply a guise to acquire cheap labor at the expense of Canadian citizens.

Let's review the evidence shall we?

1. Bringing in cheap foreign labor erodes competitive labor markets that are needed in order to drive up Canadian worker's wages so that they might enjoy a decent standard of living.

2. Temporary foreign workers are in theory born from neoliberalism capitalist ideology that states and i quote " the only responsibility of businesses is to maximize profits"

3. Temporary foreign worker programs deprive Canadian youth of the transitory jobs that they need in order to transition into higher paying work. People who go months on end being unemployed are almost considered unemployable by business. This sets our youth up for future failure and a society that relies on government handouts for their survival.

4. Temporary foreign worker program deviates from free capitalist ideology and moves into socialistic capitalist theory and essentially props up businesses that should otherwise fail with cheap labor.

5. Temporary foreign workers are abused verbally, emotionally and sometimes put in harms way physically so that inefficient businesses can stay afloat.

6. Temporary foreign worker programs add to the growing socioeconomic inequality that is destroying western industrialized countries by crushing labor sectors.

We could go on and on all day long. Believe the propaganda of business or believe the academics? Who do you truly think has the average Canadian's best interests at heart?

Vote out the conservatives and elect the party that acts on the demands of Canadian citizens.

By @noCDNoutsource | April 24, 2013

Facebook page dedicated to stopping outsourcing, offshoring and the Temporary Foreign Worker program.

By Betty McKendrick | April 18, 2013
Why are government reports not including the particular jobs that are being filled? This would tell the story very clearly. It would also make it possible for students and young people to see where there are true work training shortages and apply to train. All companies hiring TFW should have to take on an apprentice or trainee in the same job or pay into a training fund if they are a small company for a Canadian to be trained for that job.

By PSPEDLER | April 16, 2013
I applaud Alberta's Federation of Labour for their solid facts on how this Temporary Workers Program has been greatly abused. Each business should be required to present documents that in fact show whose signature is on the paper that approved their application. It is, in fact, a program that the federal government of this country introduced. I have examined the document and I do not perceive how approval was granted to the multitude of positions in this country. And having Canadian" A" show Foreigner "B" exactly what their job entails so that they can have their position terminated has to be a form of mental abuse.The federal government and the businesses involved have blatantly chosen to not consider the young youth of our nation attempting to establish themselves as contributing members of our nation. They are crying the blues about the state of the CPP, yet are providing opportunities for businesses to hire non Canadians. These non Canadians will never pay into the CPP plan, never purchase groceries, a house or car on Canadian soil. They will not be approaching any Canadian bank to secure major purchases or support our schools through taxation.
Who, if fact, came up with this plan in the first place? Where are the elected officials who should be acting as visionaries for our country when policies are initiated?
When the next election time rolls around again, I don't want to hear the elected government members telling us that all our problems are because of the last guys in power. I want them, before election day, to be realistic about the problems facing Canada and what their realistic solutions are.
Let's stop this era of GREED and get down to brass tacks. We are the one nation that in times past, lived without this word in our vocabulary. Canadians are known as a mild and gentle group of people. Heaven help the ones that are taking that away.

By Frank Martell | April 16, 2013
The city of calgary has this web page.

How many of our government municipal, provincial, and federal are laying off workers and also using foreign temporary workers. It is expected for business to race to the bottom if allowed. Are our governments doing the same?

By Tim Shaw | April 14, 2013
Question for you

Are any of the pipeline companies using this subsidy as a leverage against American labor down south? I have been hearing about contractors in partnership with Canadians opening schools for certification to fast track welders etc. If they are paying an 85% rate is that unfair competition if they do business stateside?
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By John Kolkman | April 10, 2013
Great job AFL of exposing as liars those federal and provincial politicians who falsely claimed the accelerated TFW process would only be used by employers to fill high skill positions.
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