“If successful, it will be implemented federally or in other provinces, hence, more Canadian locals will have better job opportunities.” –Federal Government
Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray and federal Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu announced a 24-month pilot program to ensure that employers can no longer use the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in place of local workers in 29 high-skilled job categories.
“This announcement is good news for Alberta workers, both employed and unemployed”, said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “I am proud of the leadership displayed by the Alberta Government in developing this pilot program which will help qualified Albertans currently seeking work with accessing good jobs. It will also stop the practice of TFWs being used to undercut wages and it will encourage employers, especially in construction, to put a renewed focus on apprenticeships and training.”
The 24-month pilot program means any company seeking a permit to bring in a foreign worker in those 29 job categories will be contacted by staff in Alberta Labour and directed to hire potential locals. Those job categories will be placed on a “refusal to process” list within the temporary foreign worker program. And if this is successful, the initiative could be tried in other parts of Canada.
This Alberta government program is believed to be the first of its kind in Canada and will be watched by the federal government to see if it can be implemented federally or in other provinces. Based on their data, the job categories were selected because there is a sufficient pool of unemployed workers with those skills within Alberta.
Most of those jobs are plumbers, carpenters, engineers and others. Check List of 29 High Skilled Jobs to see the complete job categories.
This is great news according to Alberta Federation Labour (AFL). AFL continues to advocate for the abolishment of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and for a move to a real immigration system for workers coming into the country. They have been the leading voice in exposing the exploitative nature of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which has been used to flood local labor markets, drive down wages and working conditions, and undermines systems of permanent immigration.