Temporary foreign worker program prone to abuse, Auditor General says


Canada’s pro tem foreign workers program is rife with oversight problems that occur to have allowed lower-paid international workers to take jobs that out-of-work Canadians could expand supply, the federal auditor general says.

Some companies have effectively develop intensified a business model on the program that could be having unintended consequences that the regime doesn’t know about, including wage suppression or discouraging wealth investment and innovation, said Michael Ferguson’s report on the program, participation of a fresh batch of federal audits tabled Tuesday.

Ferguson’s write-up says the government approved applications for temporary foreign workers equanimous when employers had not demonstrated reasonable efforts to train existing hands or hire unemployed Canadians, including those from under-represented troops, such as First Nations.

Nor did officials effectively crack down on callers that were found to have run afoul of the rules; few on-site inspections or face-to-face audiences with the foreign workers themselves were conducted, the audit base. Even when corrective action was recommended, it took months for all the vital approvals.

Ferguson is calling for better oversight of the program and more pushback from federal officials to insure companies applying to hire temporary foreign workers are doing so for the straight off reasons.

Ottawa plans to implement recommendations

The department overseeing the program, Engaging and Social Development Canada, says it plans to implement all of Ferguson’s supports.

Ferguson’s report comes months after a Commons committee supported an overhaul to the program, and three years after the previous Conservative management made changes in a bid to ensure the program worked as intended: to help conventions fill job vacancies only when qualified Canadians couldn’t be ground for the work, and only when it didn’t negatively affect the local work market.

Between 2013 and 2015, the number of temporary foreign white-collar workers in Canada dropped from 163,000 to just over 90,000, a fruit of the 2014 changes and the economic downturn.

Despite the drop in numbers, the audit side said it found numerous cases where employers gave dizzying debate withs for needing a temporary foreign worker that departmental officials diminished to challenge in 40 per cent of the cases reviewed as part of the audit.

One personally was allowed to hire a caregiver for their elderly parent even nevertheless they had not tried to recruit a Canadian, as required, because they after “someone who is trustworthy and with the ability to work without supervision.”

Some fish and seafood answer plants told officials that they needed temporary unconnected workers because Canadians had quit their positions because of the conditions or scrape of the work. The auditors were blunt in their response: “In our opinion, this quintessence of situation appeared to be a retention problem and not a labour shortage problem.”

The fish and seafood energy came up frequently.

Ferguson’s team found that over 80 per cent laid off Canadian artisans at companies in the sector were claiming employment insurance at the same convenience life the companies were employing temporary foreign workers.

Auditors say Occupation and Social Development Canada could have used departmental databases like line insurance information to figure out if a Canadian could fill a job, but did not. Nor did the department express officials assessing applications full access to such information that could drink helped in their decision-making.

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