Thursday, April 28, 2016

Foreign worker program change stalling

The Liberal government seems to be poised to delay a reduction in foreign workers scheduled to take effect July 1.

Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk told Reuters news agency the schedule to reduce the cap on foreign workers from 20 to 10 per cent of an employer's workforce may be too ambitious.

The timelines were established by the previous Harper government after the CBC gave prominent coverage to situations that appeared to be abuses of the program.

"Ten percent has obviously caused a lot of disruption," Mihychuk said.

The move to 10 percent is part of a "progressive strangulation of the livestock industry" in rural areas, said Ron Davidson, spokesman for Canadian Meat Council.

Ray Price, president of the Sunterra Group in Alberta, said lowering the cap to 10 per cent would force him to lay off some people who really want to be working for him.

He said a shortage of workers has his pork-packing plant running at 70 per cent of capacity.

What irks me is that we have thousands of refugee arrivals from Syria who are existing on government and private sponsorship support. Can't they do some of these jobs?