Departing Temporary Foreign Workers Mean Job Vacancies, But Do Canadians Want The Work?

April 15, 2015 News

TFW Cleaning LadyOver the last seven years, Grant McCurdy has staffed about 25 housekeeping and janitorial positions with temporary workers from other countries at the DoubleTree Hotel in Edmonton.

While he estimates 90 per cent of those workers now have Canadian citizenship and still work at the hotel, on April 1 McCurdy and many other Edmonton businesspeople lost temporary employees, when changes to the federal temporary worker program went into effect and up to 16,000 people in Alberta were sent to their home countries.

McCurdy has lost three employees following the changes in positions that he said won’t be easy to fill. “We’re definitely feeling the impact,” he said. “We pay the going rate, but it’s not a high-paying field, and we’re finding local people don’t want the work. With camps closing in the oil patch, we thought we’d get a rush of applicants, but it’s not happening.”

Recruiting people to fill jobs is one of the industry’s biggest problems, according to Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association president and CEO Dave Kaiser. He said workforce issues are on the agenda at the group’s upcoming convention and town hall.

“It’s a permanent problem—having to do more with less people,” McCurdy said, pointing to the resulting move toward automated services in many hotels, like automated check in and choosing your room on your cell phone. There are now even discounts for choosing infrequent housekeeping service—every 2 or 3 days instead of daily.

“Margins aren’t great in the hotel business. We all have to look at ways to save labour,” McCurdy said. “But it’s a shame to lose good workers. We had to put people on return flights that have been here for several years. They have no jobs to go home to, but there’s nothing we can do.”

Half of the workers sent home worked in low-wage service sector jobs and thousands more in the construction industry.

“The change means employers in the low wage service sector will have to pay higher wages. Our economy simply can’t tolerate a two-tiered labour market,” said Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) president Gil McGowan.

While some 70,000 temporary workers are still in Alberta, McGowan said the AFL is calling for the program to be scrapped completely. “The changes to the program are a significant step in the right direction. We don’t want to see any more TFW permits for low-wage employers, but the workers who are already here should be allowed to stay. ”


April 15, 2015

Problem is all the big company’s scammed the system. Bringing in trade workers and our trades men were seating home . And now that screws the guy paying low end jobs. And no one in Canada want work for 10.00- 12.00 bucks an hour. So the hard working filipinos get screwed too. Most people Rather draw wellfair