Lots of Sask. firms hiring temporary foreign workers: Critics say program about cheap labour, not fixing shortages

CBC News September 9, 2013 - The list of Saskatchewan companies applying to bring in temporary foreign workers continues to grow. Federal documents obtained by CBC News through an Access to Information request show there are now more than 3,000 companies in Saskatchewan that have asked for and received permission to hire foreign workers.

For example, temporary foreign workers have been hired at 430 Saskatchewan restaurants. The program was intended to help employers fill labour shortages in the short term, when there were no qualified Canadians.

However, the list of companies looking for foreign help keeps growing: hotels, construction, mining, retail and farm companies are all telling Ottawa they need outside help.

Larry Hubich, the president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, says it's hard to believe no Saskatchewan people want these jobs.

"It isn't a proactive immigration policy. It's a cheap labour policy," Hubich said.

"There are over 350,000 people working in this country under temporary foreign worker program visas. And we've got hundreds of thousands of people who are unemployed. Those two don't match up for me."

Critics of the program question why Saskatchewan companies won't pay higher wages.

They say while bringing in cheap foreigners is a fix, it's not an effective one in the long term.

Sask firms receiving approval for temporary foreign workers

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