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  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Organizational Responses Canadian Centre for Policy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Boots Riley in Winnipeg May 11 February 22, 2019
    Founder of the political Hip-Hop group The Coup, Boots Riley is a musician, rapper, writer and activist, whose feature film directorial and screenwriting debut — 2018’s celebrated Sorry to Bother You — received the award for Best First Feature at the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards (amongst several other accolades and recognitions). "[A] reflection of the […]
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  • CCPA-BC welcomes Emira Mears as new Associate Director February 11, 2019
    This week the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office is pleased to welcome Emira Mears to our staff team as our newly appointed Associate Director. Emira is an accomplished communications professional, digital strategist and entrepreneur. Through her former company Raised Eyebrow, she has had the opportunity to work with many organizations in the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study explores media coverage of pipeline controversies December 14, 2018
    Supporters of fossil fuel infrastructure projects position themselves as friends of working people, framing climate action as antithetical to the more immediately pressing need to protect oil and gas workers’ livelihoods. And as the latest report from the CCPA-BC and Corporate Mapping Project confirms, this framing has become dominant across the media landscape. Focusing on pipeline […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study highlights ‘uncomfortable truth’ about racism in the job market December 12, 2018
    "Racialized workers in Ontario are significantly more likely to be concentrated in low-wage jobs and face persistent unemployment and earnings gaps compared to white employees — pointing to the “uncomfortable truth” about racism in the job market, according to a new study." Read the Toronto Star's coverage of our updated colour-coded labour market report, released […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

More on the strange economics of temporary foreign workers

The Alberta Federation of Labour reports that more people now coming into province as temporary workers than traditional immigrants. From their press release:

Alberta has become the first province in Canadian history to bring more people into its jurisdiction under the temporary foreign worker program than through Canada’s mainline immigration system.

According to new figures from the federal department of Citizenship and Immigration, as of December 1, 2006, there were 22,392 temporary foreign workers in Alberta. That’s more than double the 11,067 temporary workers who were in the province in 2003 and more than three times the 7,286 who were in the province in 1997.

Significantly, the 2006 figure for temporary foreign workers in Alberta is greater than the 20,717 immigrants granted permanent resident status in the province that year. This marks the first time that temporary workers have overtaken traditional immigrants.

Over the past five years, other provinces – most notably B.C. and Ontario – have also experienced dramatic jumps in the use of temporary foreign workers. But in those provinces, traditional immigrants still out number temporary workers.

“Once again, Alberta seems to be leading other provinces in the race to the bottom,” says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “If these temporary workers were on a track to becoming full citizens, it would be less of a concern – but they’re not. The vast majority will be treated like Post-It Notes – to be used, discarded and sent back to the countries of origin.”

As a result of the “exponential growth” of the temporary foreign workers program, McGowan says that “we’re in the process of creating an underclass of workers who are much more vulnerable and open to exploitation than Canadian workers and who have little hope of ever becoming full citizens.”

In response the dramatic jump in numbers, in early May the AFL established its own “Office of the Temporary Foreign Worker Advocate” to help temporary workers who are being ill-treated by employers or employment brokers.

In the seven weeks since opening the office, the AFL’s Advocate has provided assistance to dozens of workers from India, Romania, Mexico, the Philippines and other countries. Complaints have ranged from exorbitant fees charged by brokers; to substandard housing; to employers refusing to pay overtime or reneging on promises related to wages and training.

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