The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has been one of the most vocal supporters of Canada’s temporary foreign worker (TFW) program, and it’s become even more vocal in the days since Employment Minister Jason Kenney suspended use of the program at restaurants.
The group’s president, Dan Kelly, called Kenney’s move a “slap in the face to entrepreneurs in the food services sector.”
And in an interview with CBC’s Cross Country Checkup on Sunday, Kelly suggested that the controversy over the TFW program is whipping up racism across the country.
“When we see somebody that has an accent or a little bit of colour in a restaurant location, we may jump to the conclusion that they are a temporary foreign worker when in fact they are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident,” Kelly said.
"I sure don't jump to that conclusion," CBC host Suhana Meharchand replied.
“I don’t think many Canadians do, but because of the stories that have been whipped up over this, there is some of that that’s happening in our country,” Kelly argued.
Besides the claim that the debate over the TFW program is inflaming racial tensions, Kelly has made some other controversial statements regarding Canadian workers and their temporary foreign counterparts.
Here are some of his more colourful assertions about TFWs. Is he making legitimate points, or just fabricating excuses for companies that don’t want to pay workers more? Let us know in the comments below.
(Video clip via Press Progress)
Getty"What I’m hearing from business owners is often that one out of every five (local) applicants will show up (for work). Often that one person may work one week and then not show up for the next shift, and not even call or let them know what’s going on. Or they will hire an employee who says they are available the first week but need two weeks off in summer and need every second Tuesday off or don’t want to work weekends. Just because someone says they are looking for work doesn’t mean they are available to work." — In an interview with the Vancouver Sun.
Getty"A place in Alberta couldn’t find cooks. It brought in 10 cooks and could then find Canadians to work in the serving area. If foreign workers weren’t there to do parts of the work, (businesses) wouldn’t be able to to provide jobs to other Canadians." — In an interview with the Vancouver Sun
Getty"I can tell you, anecdotally, I’ve had many many emails from small business owners who’ve said that their temporary foreign workers are among the most productive employees, that are doing really high quality work, that have terrific customer service skills and, more than anything, are reliable." — In an interview with CBC
GettyCanadians are beginning to realize that "we don't really want to go and do jobs working on farms, we don't want to get hot and sweaty in the summer picking fruit or vegetables and we're OK if we bring in Jamaicans or Mexicans to come in for a short period of time to do those jobs. And … there are other jobs in other sectors of the economy that Canadians don't want to be doing themselves and ... don't want our kids to be doing either." — In an interview with CTV
Getty"In large urban settings in general service restaurants, I think some of them can muddle through with consequences" after the suspension of the TFW program for restaurants, Kelly said in an interview with CBC. "But in small communities, in resource communities, in resort areas, I am absolutely positive if the moratorium lasts, if it goes into months, there will be business closures as a result of this. ... And take some Canadian jobs with them."
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