I read with interest the articles in the Feb. 7 Albertan about the proposed use of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the Rural Renewal Stream program.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program has promised to spur economic growth since 1973. In 2002 the program expanded under the Liberal federal government with the Low Skill Pilot Project to employers of low-skilled workers for jobs that Canadian citizen or resident workers allegedly do not want.
In 2006, the federal Conservative government expanded the pilot project to add qualifying occupations and speed the application process, and accelerated unemployment in Alberta and B.C. among low-skilled workers. From 2000 to 2021, the amount of all temporary foreign workers increased from 111,000 to 777,000. Eighty-five per cent of skilled workers in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program between 2002 and 2012 worked in B.C., Alberta and Ontario mainly concentrated in smaller communities.
It is clear that immigration to Canada is employer-driven. This is surprising to hear since my parents' immigration to Canada was about more than getting a job with stories of seeking freedom from oppression.
These programs appear to be used to solve problems that have affected the labour market for upwards of five decades and I am unconvinced they are magic bullets to the challenges ahead.
My question is, are these programs really necessary or is this a way to avoid paying a higher wage to a Canadian citizen or resident worker?