Why Changes in Canada's Temporary Worker Program Worries Filipinos
Earlier this month, nearly 200 OFWs from Canada gathered together not only for a fun outing but also discuss their worries about the most recent changes in Canada’s temporary worker program.
Some of the change that they did for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) is to have another kind of TFWP but with the objective of advancing Canada’s broad economic and cultural national interest. This new program was called the International Mobility Program (IMP). Under this new program, Canada implemented that there would be an increase for the employers from $275 to $1,000 per foreign worker that they hire. Also, the employers also have to pass a more rigorous Labor Market Impact Assessment test in order for them to prove that their company in real need to hire a foreign worker over a Canadian worker. LMIA or the Labor Market Impact Assessment test is an assessment test to prove whether the company needs a foreign employer or they can just simply hire a Canadian national.
Unlike the IMP,TFWP leans more on the low-skilled work while IMP is focusing on developing the country to have highly skilled workers as part of their work force and to also make the employer prefer Canadian nationality to hire rather than a foreigner. However, although the program is very beneficial for Canada as a whole, it only became more beneficial on the Canadian workers. IMP is not based on employer demand and is not requiring the employers to take the LMIA test which became more rigorous in accordance to the new law.
Because of these new changes, the employers would practically prefer to have Canadian workers rather than to hire a foreign worker in which they have to pay for $1,000 for. In comparison to the past program wherein the TWFP is the last resort of an employer in finding employees to fill jobs that qualified Canadians are not available, IMP now made finding an employee easier for them(esdc.gc.ca).
For the 100 Filipinos working at a fish plant in Deer Islands that are working through the temporary foreign workers programs, the changes in the programmed announced this year meant that they employers would have to pay higher fees and the workers would not be able to stay in Canada in comparison to the pass program.
According to Esthela Pyett, the president of the Filipino Association of New Brunswick, that all the temporary workers especially those with expiring work permits are very much concerned with these changes. She also said that the Filipino Association will hold a meeting to know if there is a way to help the OFWs in Canada to keep their jobs.
The Canadian government said that they will be hiring an estimate of 20 more inspectors to regulate these change. Those who are caught violating the new rules under the new Temporary Worker Program would be fined up to $100,000 for the employers who are found abusing the program starting this fall.