Canadian Prime Minister Responds to Outcry, Reinstates Prevailing Wages for Guest Workers [View all]
Source: We Party Patriots
Following the controversy sparked by the RBC-iGate affair in which the Royal Bank of Canada was replacing Canadian IT workers with foreign counterparts in order to lower labor costs, the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced changes to the country’s temporary foreign labor program.
The changes, made under duress resulting from growing public outcry against the program, will eliminate provisions that allow employers to pay foreign workers up to 15 percent less than the prevailing wage. For many, the changes are too little too late and are viewed as a mere PR ploy from a falling prime minister. Recent polling shows that 55 percent of Canadians do not think Harper should run for another term.
Leading the charge against Canada’s temporary foreign labor program has been the union movement. The 15 percent pay dock rule is part of a broader anti-labor agenda being pushed by the ruling Conservative Party. Under the traditional temporary foreign labor program, guest workers could only be granted work visas if jobs could not be filled by Canadians and would pay the prevailing wage. The Harper government’s changes to the program allowed employers to steeply undercut wages. As readers of this blog know, undercutting wages for a select group of people often results in lower wages for all and, in this case, meant an influx of foreign workers being brought in by companies looking to take advantage of cheap labor, thus spurning Canadians.
The Alberta Federation of Labour calls Harper’s new announcement “cosmetic”. President Gil McGown told the Globe and Mail: “This is more slippery politics from the Harper government. They’re trying to give the impression that something big is being done to address public concerns … when in reality the foundations of the program remain unchanged.”