My Opinion: The Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker

This post is only me ranting. I am still working on this, so it is a work in progress. I also know that some of you may not agree with my statements, so feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section of this post. Also, this post is undergoing further updates over next couple of day too, so check back later for my final edit.

Over the last few months here in Canada there has been much published in the media about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and how it is effecting Canadians in just about every corner of our country. In this post I will give my opinion about what the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program means to me, and what I think of it in terms of what I see are the myths built up by both the Federal Government and the businesses who are using it. I will also throw in my opinion on what I see as the negative effects this program is having on the Canadian economy as we head further on into times of high unemployment.

As I mused over the Government Website, looking up what is the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, (TFWP) I quickly noticed that the website changed significantly since I first clicked on it back in 2011. Back then, the site was geared towards helping businesses of all stripes who were looking for cheap labour to fulfil their needs for jobs that were always vacant because most Canadians did not want them. This program allowed Canadian business to hire foreign workers on a temporary bases, and at reduced wages, to fill those vacant job, and fill the needs in business sectors like restaurants, hotels and agriculture. At the time this seemed like the perfect solution to a problem that was supposedly huge throughout the last decade. Today, the website is geared to fighting abuses, then actually promoting this source of cheap labour in Canada.

When I was going to school, I remember my grade eleven English teacher explaining to us about this concept called capitalism, and how it worked. The premiss was simple, Banks printed the money that Governments used, and both issues that money to businesses who in turn pay their employees, who in turn buy their goods, and pay taxes back to the Government, and the more we do this, the more wealthier everyone got. Well, that was what I wrote down in my notes at the time. As I now know, capitalism is far more complex and diverse than what my grade eleven teacher was teaching us at that time. I always believed that in order for the true market economy to work, a balance has to be in place, or it will fall into pieces–that was the basic lesson back then, and it still holds true today–or does it?

My thinking goes like this, if there is a demand, then the market economy will quickly adjust to it. So, if widgets, as an example, became scarce, and the market economy has anĀ insatiable appetite for them, then their value will increase, based on this demand. Either production of widgets increases to meet the demand, or they become harder for the average consumer to obtain. Now lets say labour becomes scarce, and all of a sudden their are now more jobs then there are people to fill them. I have three issues with companies who want cheap labour, and those who claim that undesirable jobs cannot be filled, and the end result of distorting the economic landscape/marketplace in Canada:

First, the market economy would dictate that in order to fill that need, then its value must increase so that those jobs become attractive again, right. But what if those businesses choose to argue that simply increasing their worker’s wages, they can no longer stay competitive in the market economy. Well, then the law economics would state that prices would need to increase to meet this new demand, and the consumer would pay more for the widgets.

Second, would be the competitive argument where in order for a business to stay competitive, it must have an advantage, and with this advantage, it can keep its prices at competitive levels with the rest of the market place. However, in order to have this edge, there must be some sort of compromise which means someone, or thing, has to have some sort of disadvantage as compared to the rest of the market economy. In this case, hiring cheap labour to make the widgets.

Third, I call the distortion of the market economy, which means that unemployment balloons, and despite this, foreign workers are allowed to complete for jobs that otherwise would not have been desirable before the market correction (recession). Business’ claim that that by doing this, they maintain their competitive edge; however, if more people become unemployed, then the overall value of the consumer in the market economy becomes diminished. This distortion would amplify over the micro and macro economies within Canada causing more job positions away from Canadian workers who would otherwise want them as unemployment grows. Even though widget prices only increased slightly as foreign workers continued in their production, market consumption would eventually decrease as more and more of the economic middle class chooses to spend less on widgets as they experience budget shrinkage in the market economy as well.

In my mind, having the TFWP does more harm than good in Canada. I can only imagine what was going through the Government’s and bureaucrats’ minds when they invented this, and then implemented it across Canada as the businesses and corporations were asking for any welfare to come their way. Maybe it was it not obvious to the government that this program would be used as a means of obtaining cheap labour, and that abuses to both the program and those foreign workers would take place. Although I would not call this “slavery,” it does seem to fall just short of being called just that, in my opinion.

I believe that if a job is so undesirable for Canadians, then the business community must solve this problem in a fair and equitable way by either two ways: through the use of technologically, like automation, or adjust the wage so that the job becomes desirable, such as a living wage. It is unfairĀ  to Canadians to have business hire foreign workers, at reduced wages, and with little benefits under Canadian Law, working in Canada-period.

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