Know how we Canadians are incessantly told that immigrants do jobs Canadians don't want to do [at that pay mind you but they always stop the sentence short and I should add they are jobs immigrants don't want to do either (nor their Canadian born children) but will do until their permanent residency is assured)? Well, it turns out immigrants are doing jobs Canadians want to do after all.
I should be more accurate. They are temporary foreign workers (TFWs) to be precise, not immigrants per se, but as anyone in the immigration field will tell you there is noting more permanent than a temporary foreign worker.
I've been reading the comments to the article and it appears the story is a little more complicated than the reporter in the Edmonton Sun makes it out to be. I recommend you read the comments as well and if you do see if you can spot the company shill providing spin to the issue.
What appears clear to me is that this is yet another example of the business community using the immigration system to bust unions and drive down incomes, and consequently living standards, of Canadians.
One of the comments argues that the labour shortage in places like the Alberta tar sands is manufactured by purposely offering low wages and no benefits to drive away any domestic interest so that companies will have little option but to import TFWs. I think this is right on the mark. At the right pay coupled with other incentives you can easily attract the labour you desire but there seems to be no interest in doing this. There is also the option to train and retain employees but there is no interest in doing this either which appears to be especially true with the construction industry. If there is a labour shortage in this country Canadian businesses share some of the blame.
The issues here are thus. One is the use of foreigners - Filipinos and Portuguese in this case - to attack the living standards of Canadians by driving down incomes and eliminating benefits. This redistributes wealth upwards and into concentrated hands which in turn exacerbates the growing income divide. This should be a concern because concentrated wealth is harmful to the health of the economy. The second issue is private companies - private citizens - selecting who gets to immigrate to Canada. Immigration is largely a federal issue because it affects Canadian sovereignty and I don't believe unaccountable, private citizens should decide who gets to settle here. The third issue is the misnamed temporary foreign worker. There is no such thing as a temporary foreign worker since too many of them never leave even after their visa expires which leads to the last issue. This has to do with the business practice of externalizing costs which means dumping the cost of doing business onto someone else. In this case, private companies offer unattractive pay packages to discourage domestic interest so that they can pursue the cheaper imported foreigner option. They can recapture the costs of importing them by paying them less (which means less taxes being sent to Ottawa than a Canadian worker would send), offering little to no benefits, and then disposing of them once they have maximized their investment in them. The business then dumps the cost of the TFW onto the Canadian taxpayer because now in Canada the TFW does not always leave the country on his or her own volition once their visa expires. Along with the cost to the government of having to track them down to deport them the now illegal immigrant needs to meet his or her basic necessities which will necessitate a source of income of sorts. These are costs to Canadians in some way or another. The now illegal may make a refugee claim to extend his or her stay which means even more costs to Canadians. To the business community TFWs means profits. To the rest of us TFWs just aren't worth it.
When foreign workers were invading Canadian territory and negatively affecting the incomes of Canadian citizens, and jeopardizing their financial well being, the government did something about it to protect the interests of the citizens who elected it. It installed a head tax. Now it chaperones foreign workers into the Canadian labour market with no regard to how this affects Canadian incomes and Canadian society.