Saturday, June 28, 2014

Time to scrap the temporary worker program

It's time to scrap the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, including the program for seasonal workers on fruit and vegetable farms.

There is no doubt that farmers want reliable and compliant workers, but they don't need to be people brought in on temporary work permits that restrict them to a specific employer.

They could be immigrants with the full range of Canadian rights and privileges.

It would also be helpful for the Canadian agriculture industry to shed itself of the bad reputation that has developed over temporary foreign workers.

The Globe and Mail, in an editorial today, hits the nail on the head, saying:

"Canada has grown and prepared by being an immigration country.

"The problem with temporary foreign workers is not that they are workers.

"It is that they are temporary and foreign tied to their employers like indentured servants and constantly under threat of losing their right to work and their right to remain in Canada if they displease that employer.

"Canadians in the work force, including immigrants, suffer from none of those disabilities.

"Canada needs more citizens, fewer guests."

I have been told by farmers that they prefer temporary foreign workers because they are housed on the farm, ready to begin working at 7 a.m. and willing to continue working all day. 

That, I was told, is a lot more convenient than trying to arrange transportation for refugees and recent immigrants living in Kitchener and Waterloo, even though I was talking to them about experienced farmers eager to work hard to get off of welfare.

Sure, indentured slaves willing to work hard are convenient and profitable for employers. But it's not just, it's not fair and it's not right. I needs to end.