Yet another group of Canadian Tradesworkers displaced by low-cost TFWs on Oil Sands construction site

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Employers are becoming emboldened as Harper Government continues to turn a blind eye to abuse of TFW program

Edmonton – The time has come for Canadian construction workers to express their outrage at the Harper Government’s temporary foreign worker program (TFWP), which is being increasingly used by employers to displace Canadians and replace them with vulnerable and exploitable foreign workers, says Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan.

“The construction industry in Northern Alberta generates some of the best jobs in Canada,” McGowan said. “But increasingly – instead of being filled by Canadians – those jobs are being given to temporary foreign workers earning as little as half the prevailing wage. Stephen Harper says he won’t tolerate abuse of the TFW program but the reality is that employers are simply using the program the way it was designed to be used and that is to undercut Canadians. When it comes to the TFWP, Stephen Harper is the walking, talking definition of hypocrisy.”

McGowan’s comments came in response to news that 65 Canadian ironworkers, working for a Alberta-based company called Pacer Promec Joint Venture on Imperial Oil’s Kearle Lake oil sands project, were laid off on Tuesday, Feb. 4, and replaced by TFWs from Croatia who are being paid only $18 / hour – less than half the prevailing wage earned by Canadians doing the same work.

McGowan will be available for comment in Calgary at 2:15 p.m. at the Air Canada departure level. Reporters interested in talking with the ironworkers who were displaced can contact Ironworkers Local 720 Business Manager Harry Tostowaryk at 780-482-0720.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.9888 (cell)

Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell)
or via e-mail orokne@afl.org

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By Jane Smith | May 20, 2014
There is no where for a white woman to get a job in canada now. Im from the east people are starving there now. They wont hire me in ottawa because I am white and english. I am educated and have worked since age 15. I dont understand why canada is still bringing in immigrants when the world is in a global recession and canada lost 1 milllion jobs in 2008 alone that have not been recovered (in all lines of work). Most of the people on welfare are educated and are displaced by immigrants who should be staying in their OWN nations and leave our jobs to our people-like every other nation on earth does.

By jacobburton | February 12, 2014
Sandra ive spent 13 years in the oil sands and see the lies and see how my sisters and brothers have been pushed out of the best jobs in canada .If you don't like free speech the right to assemble and the rights of canadians over for tfw well I question your patriotic values . Wars start this way dear read your history books then shoot your mouth off

By Sandra | February 12, 2014
AFL has done a terrible thing pin-pointing the wrong company in this. Pacer Corporation may own half of the company, but it is being managed by others. Pacer Corp is now seeing property damage and their workers are feeling threatened, by so called 'proud Canadian workers' who are upset. This is not how people should act. AFL should be sued by Pacer for this 'misread' paycheque company name. Slander, defimation of character...

Also, how does AFL know how much the TFWs were being paid? Make sure you know the facts before printing them! I know they were being paid more, so there is another false allegation.

There are many Canadian and TFWs who have problems that prevent them from being hired. I have personally hired many Canadian tradespeople and seen drug & alcohol test failures weekly (1-3 times per week). I think a really large issue is tackling the drug/alcohol problems in the oilsands, so more locals can be hired and succeed. It's sad how many good workers are afflicted with this problem.

The replacement of the Canadian workers by this PPJV company was wrong. I do not dispute that. PPJV should be investigated by the government and by the Pacer Corp management team. Pacer should review the management that they have there, and replace them with others that know the laws and put Canadian workers first. The only time TFWs are to be hired is when there are no "able" Canadians to fill them (fully qualified, no prior performance issues, no drug/alcohol problems etc).

People need to stop harassing the companies that weren't directly at fault. Stop the property damage and threatening of other workers. It makes the general public look like they have a mob mentality. Get the entire picture, the real information, and then address your concerns with the real culprits in a civil manner. Violence is never the way. What company would hire a person once they've been violent? No one.

By Ryan | February 10, 2014
Darrel you ignorant asshole. I would work circles around you any day of the week! This program is completely ABUSED! And it needs to be stopped!

By jacobburton | February 09, 2014
Scaffolding 13 years 25000 hours in alberta 1325local. We were told before they built cnrl I think it was 04 listen boys the iron workers just signed time and half agreement for cnrl so this is what we have to do to secure work like 720 then the rest of us did and look what they did for 720 . Unions just want dues no leg work dont even look canadian now look more like united nations so many solid brothers leave or retire . CLAC OFFICE AND THE TWP OFFICE needs a serious renovation if we kick up a big enough fight even the cops would get it there union to and look at what there doing to the vets even the military would back us just need a pair balls

By Darrel | February 08, 2014
That is because most every foreign worker from nannies to skilled laborera can work circles around most of the laY Canadian workforce who wants everything handed to them while they hide in corners and stand around water coolers. Good on companies for seeing the potential and drive of foreign workers, just putting in an honest day for an honest days pay. Canadians are spoiled.

By Red Seal Journeyman Welder | February 08, 2014
HEADLINES: Company promises to hire Canadians after being caught using TFWs to replace domestic iron workers


TFWs will be moved to another project, but it remains unclear if fired Canadians will get their jobs back

Edmonton – The company involved in a TFW scandal on Imperial Oil's Kearle Lake site has admitted that it fired Canadian iron workers and replaced them with TFWs.

In a statement released to media this afternoon, the company, Pacer-Promec Joint Ventures, said it would move the TFWs to another site and commit to hiring Canadians – but stopped short of saying they would offer the jobs to the Canadians who had been fired in the first place.

"At first blush, this looked like a clear victory for the fired Canadians workers," Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan said. "But Pacer-Promec has not contacted the union or the fired workers with an offer to come back to work. Something still smells pretty fishy here."

On Tuesday, Feb. 4, 65 Canadian workers employed by Pacer-Promec Joint Ventures were given their pink slips, and they were replaced by Temporary Foreign Workers. When the firings came to light, the ensuing public outrage forced the government to announce an investigation. Late Friday afternoon, the company issued a press release that included an apology and a promise to hire Canadians.

Caught Red-Handed

By Red Seal Journeyman Welder | February 08, 2014

I worked for various companies in northern Alberta for more than 4 years
and was laid off with 15 others in Oct/2013.

I have a lot of welding and fabrication experience under my belt.
I currently hold these credentials:

- Interprovincial Red Seal Welder
- Interprovincial Red Seal Metal Fabricator (Fitter)
- CWB (Canadian Welding Bureau) Certified

Plus, all the required training for work in the Alberta oil sands.
(ex. OSSA, CSTS, etc.)

I have worked side by side with foreign workers and watched them
get the long term jobs with the oil companies that also applied for.
They were brought into Canada, trained and given jobs at equal pay.
I put myself through school and paid for some of my safety training.
The Canadian gov't didn't give me any free upgrading or training.
The TFWP helps non-Canadians get Canadian jobs while I become the
real minority.
They also get special treatment over Canadians. I know what I see.

It's been 3 1/2 months and I cannot find another job there.
I have more training and experience than most welders
in the oil sands but........ I am Canadian.
I have been to many mine sites, (Kearl Lake, Fire Bag, Mildred Lake,
Aurora, CNRL Horizon, etc..) and I've seen many, many foreign
workers getting a lax, free ride simply because most of the oil sands
companies are foreign owned and they simply do not care about Canadians.

I have thought about protesting on Parliament Hill. Though I feel that
it will fall on deaf ears. I may have to find work in another country.
Isn't that reason enough to change the current FWT program guidelines?

Canada is known around the world as the free-for-all giveaway country.
We are being taken advantage of and laughed at.

By Tony Donnelly | February 07, 2014
Firstly let me say I am here from ireland and worked for a year under the TFWP. A company has to apply for an LMO (labor market opinion) before the government allows them to employ foreign workers. To obtain the LMO the company HAS to prove they have tried to recruit Canadians and have been unsuccessful. The gov does not take their word for it. the company has to prove it through documentation. If they are successful the LMO clearly lays down guidelines on the minimum wage the company is allowed to pay. For equipment operators it $26 an hr plus benefits. The LMO also states that Canadian workers have to be kept in employment at the expense of the foreign worker if need be. Often in slow times I got a phone call to stay at home and my Canadian co workers were still working. And that's the way it should be. The wage tariff set by the GOV is there to prevent company's from taking in cheap foreign labour. Put bluntly if any company has employed foreign workers at almost half the wages of Canadians and have subsequently laid Canadian workers off, that company is BREAKING THE LAW and should be reported immediately to service Canada. They will cancel all their LMOs and they will never be allowed to apply for them again. The TFWP in Canada is a brilliant idea for the Canadian economy and I say that even though it wasn't exactly favouring my position! and neither should it favour my position. It was designed to protect Canadian workers and the Canadian economy only, not so some unscrupulous employer can make even more money than they already are at the expense of local Canadian workers.




By Tyler Cunningham | February 07, 2014
I think it's time to get back to grass roots folks. Our unions need to stop pointing fingers at one another and band together. Time to dust ourselves off and return to basics. Standing up to what our forefathers fought hard for us to have. Brothers and sisters arm and arm we need to march to the hill and get some answers. If those in office have no will or backbone then we need to appoint those that do. It is time to make a stand. We have a future to secure and as it's been mentioned before it's because of the unions that the way was paved for all other sectors to stand up and demand a fair wage for a fair days pay. Mr Harper we have questions and answers we demand. Folks please get the word out. It's your sons and daughters future to.
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