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Political Eh-conomy: The Temporary Foreign Worker Program and labour solidarity

Yesterday, I took a look at the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and how it helps enforce labour discipline on all workers, and low-wage workers in particular. Today, I want to explore the migration side of the migrant worker equation. The context of migration not only makes it easier for employers to exploit TFWs, it also serves to obscure the common core of labour solidarity that should be at the basis of responses to the greater labour discipline that the TFWP enables.

The expansion of the TFWP and its increasing application to low-wage work has occurred alongside other changes (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The Temporary Foreign Workers Program and labour market discipline

While it is a truism that migrant labour built Canada, this same migrant labour has long been used to discipline domestic workers. Both facts are imprinted into the history of Canada. Today is no different and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is at the centre of debates about migrant labour. Often missing from the debate are the deep links between labour policy, (im)migration policy and the ways these interact to undermine the power and solidarity of workers.

The TFWP has become a lightning rod of criticism as details emerge of the private sector hiring temporary foreign workers (TFWs) for (Read more…)

Northern Reflections: Making The World Safe For Capital

Complaints about the Temporary Foreign Workers Program keep piling up. This morning the Vancouver Sun reports:

B.C. workers ranging from seasoned professionals to teenage fast-food employees are complaining about being dumped in favour of non-residents as Ottawa scrutinizes employers who abuse the Temporary Foreign Worker program.

Vern Doak is a crane operator with 37 years experience who lives in Vernon. In early March he was contacted by his union, who informed him that an American company, Oregon-based O & S Contracting, had work for him building a cogeneration plant near Mackenzie in north-central B.C.

The program, Carol (Read more…)

ParliamANT Hill: McD’Antald’s foreign worker practices face growing investigation

Inspired by this headline:

ParliamANT Hill: Temporary ForAnt Workers have better work ethic, some employers believe

Inspired by this headline:

Alberta Diary: Criminal employers are employers too, Alberta government spokesman says, but illegal strikes are still illegal

If feeding your employees to lions is outlawed, then only outlaws would be able to feed their employees to lions! Or is that the other way around? Whatever. In Alberta, we don’t think it would be fair to criminal employers either way. We also don’t think it’s fair not to let Temporary Foreign Workers be fed to lions when Alberta workers like the AUPE member pictured above can be. We’re #BuildingAlberta and, thanks to us, now Stephen Harper is #BuildingCanada too! Isn’t it great? Photo grabbed from the Internet.

Speaking out in defence of the Harper Government, a defiant spokesperson (Read more…)

ParliamANT Hill: Temporary ForeigAnt Worker Program changes now in effect

Inspired by this headline:

Alberta Diary: Message to Gary Doer: Now might be a good time to place a call to Ottawa, before you have to cross a picket line!

Canadian diplomats, as seen in the public’s imagination and doubtless as they will soon be portrayed by the Harper Government. Actual Canadian diplomats abroad do not appear quite as illustrated, even when dressed casually for picket line duty. Below: Gary Doer, Canada’s Ambassador to the United States; Treasury Board President Tony Clement.

The working stiffs of Canadian diplomacy, members of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, were walking a picket line in Washington, D.C., yesterday – which raised some eyebrows in the Imperial Capital and must have created some minor discomfort for the Canadian ambassador, a (Read more…)

Northern Reflections: One May Smile And Smile

Tom Walkom writes that no one should be taken in by the cosmetic changes to the Temporary Workers program, which Jason Kinney announced two days ago:

The backpedaling Monday by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney underscores a bitter truth about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. It has been forced to retreat marginally from its long-running campaign to push down wages in Canada. But it hasn’t given up the war. Kenney’s tactical retreat was announced with much fanfare. As cameras clicked, the minister announced numerous changes to Ottawa’s temporary foreign workers program. Yet only one is significant. That’s the government’s decision (Read more…)

Northern Reflections: Twisted Priorities

The Harper government is a nasty piece of work. Its twisted priorities now permeate the Canadian economy. Those priorities are best illustrated by the temporary foreign workers program. Originally established in boom times to help alleviate labour shortages, the Harperites have used the program to cudgel Canadian workers. Haroon Siddiqui writes in the Toronto Star:

Under Stephen Harper’s watch, temporary foreign workers have tripled, from 140,000 to 338,000. The total may be more like 500,000, if you add those who may have gone underground at the end of their temporary visas, plus the refugee claimants and foreign students who (Read more…)

Random Ranting Raving and Ratings: The Trouble with Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Many feel bad for the Royal Bank Employees being replaced by temporary foreign workers however they are only the latest example of what is wrong with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada.

Canada’s Foreign worker program has been criticized greatly by the NDP for its… ..

ParliamANT Hill: The Art of Distraction

Inspired by these stories:

The Canadian Progressive: At Chinese-owned B.C. mine, no Canadian hires for four years

by BC Federation of Labour “It’s clear HD Mining is in no hurry to hire Canadians and that the province of BC and Government of Canada have been complicit all along.” Documents released today show HD Mining planned to use exclusively underpaid Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW’s) underground for 4.5 years after the commencement of construction, READ MORE

Canadian ProgressiveCanadian Progressive: Canada’s Laws Fuel Migrant Worker Exploitation: Report

by Metcalf Foundation Canada’s reliance on low-wage migrant workers with temporary immigration status is growing but our laws make them vulnerable to abuse, says a new report published by the Metcalf Foundation. Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs… . . . → Read More: Canadian ProgressiveCanadian Progressive: Canada’s Laws Fuel Migrant Worker Exploitation: Report