In recent years, migrant workers are filling most of the new jobs created in the Canadian economy, according to the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), using numbers from Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey and from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
"Roughly 75 per cent of the new jobs created in Canada in 2010 and 2011 were filled by temporary foreign workers, despite the fact that 1.4-million Canadian residents were unemployed," said Ken Georgetti, president of the CLC, which represents 3.3 million Canadian workers.
"Employers and the federal government have tried to deny what is happening but we have crunched the numbers and the trends are clear. In most provinces, the importation of migrant workers accounts for more than 50 per cent of net new jobs in the years 2008-2011.”
Employers and Ottawa are using the import of vulnerable migrant workers to promote a low-wage strategy in Canada, he said.
Georgetti provided examples of migrant workers and job creation in the provinces:
•In British Columbia, the influx of temporary foreign workers exceeded the net number of jobs created between 2008 and 2011. B.C. created 52,100 net new jobs in those years, and in 2011 there were nearly 70,000 temporary foreign workers in the province.
•In 2009, Alberta imported 28,547 temporary foreign workers as the provincial economy shed 28,500 net jobs.
•In Saskatchewan, on average between 2008 and 2011, 65 per cent of net new jobs created were held by temporary foreign workers.
•In Manitoba for 2011, about 70 per cent of the net new jobs created were held by temporary foreign workers.
•In Ontario, the economy shed more than 164,000 jobs in 2009, but 60,000 temporary foreign workers arrived in the province. In 2011, 56 per cent of net new jobs were held by temporary foreign workers.
•In Quebec, 90 per cent of the net new jobs created in 2011 were held by temporary foreign workers.
•New Brunswick lost 3,400 jobs in 2010 and 4,100 jobs in 2011, but the number of temporary foreign workers arriving in the province increased to 1,819 in that year. Nova Scotia created only 300 net new jobs in 2011, but more than 2,800 temporary foreign workers arrived in the province.
•Prince Edward Island created 1,400 net new jobs in 2011, and 42 per cent of these jobs were held by temporary foreign workers.
•Newfoundland and Labrador lost more than 6,000 jobs in 2009, yet nearly 1,400 temporary foreign workers arrived in the province that year. In 2011, 22 per cent of net new jobs created were held by temporary foreign workers.
Migrant workers are welcome when there are demonstrated shortages of workers in Canada, said Georgetti, but they should be placed into the permanent immigration stream, not exploited in temporary migration schemes.
© Copyright Canadian HR Reporter, Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. All rights reserved.