The decision of the Liberal government to covertly approve an exemption for seasonal temporary foreign workers of a single industry is prompting demands from other sectors of the economy for a similar treatment and an industry-wide lifting of restrictions on access to foreign low-skilled labor. There has been a growing demand from meat processors, beekeepers and mushroom growers to have the same exemption on employing temporary foreign workers since they currently don’t qualify under the recent rule change approved by Ottawa.
A report published on Thursday revealed that the federal government approved a rule change for this year only to allow employers in seasonal industries to bring in an unlimited number of temporary foreign workers for up to 180 days. However, the rule change was not formally announcement ever. Analysts have claimed that the decision is a direct response to concerns raised by fish processors in Atlantic Canada. The new rules now allow an exemption for a 10-per-cent cap on how many foreign workers can be employed at a work site.
However, several non-seasonal sectors in other parts of the country are also now preparing for the cap, i.e. set to take effect July 1, and are demanding similar treatment. The executive vice-president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Dennis Laycraft, commented on the news and said that “it’s obviously disappointing,” as she demanded “we’d like to see an exemption” and “it just shows we’ve got more work to do.” Laycraft has recently informed MPs on the House of Commons finance committee that processors are facing serious problems because of labor shortages
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