Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Joanne Charles welcomes attendees to a forum on Temporary Foreign Workers

Temporary foreign worker program ‘a nightmare’

A forum to discuss Canada's Temporary Foreign Workers program drew about two dozen people to Semiahmoo Library last weekend.

A forum to discuss Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers program drew about two dozen people to Semiahmoo Library last weekend.

The two-hour event was the first of what is intended to be a provincewide series on the issue, said organizer Stuart Lyster, retired minister of Sunnyside United Church.

Lyster said the federal government has “created a mess” of the temporary foreign workers program. Created to help fill jobs that aren’t being filled by Canadians, changes – including recent enforcement of the “four in, four out” rule – have morphed it into “this kind of incredibly complex thing that might not even be serving employers that want to have a stable workforce,” Lyster said.

“It’s become a nightmare to administer and the federal government is not providing the proper oversight, it’s not providing the legislative framework.”

Saturday’s forum included Vancouver-Kensington NDP MLA Mable Elmore – whose office is co-ordinating the forums –  Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg, a labour-immigration lawyer and a representative of MigranteBC, a B.C.-Filipino advocacy group that worked with Leticia Sarmiento, the nanny at the centre of a high-profile human trafficking case.

Lyster said some local TFWs also attended, as did an opponent of the program as a whole.

One woman spoke to challenges created when the live-in caregiver program was folded into the TFW program. Lyster said the change means live-in caregivers can no longer apply for permanent status after two years, but instead must leave the country after four years and can’t return for four years. As well, the caregiver must now show they have a physical address apart from the home they work at.

The barriers are frustrating families and workers alike, Lyster said.

He said yet another issue with the program is that temporary foreign workers are having Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums deducted from their paycheques, “and don’t have a hope of ever participating in CPP and EI.”

“Somebody keeps reinventing a way to take money from workers without any benefit to the workers. That’s the need for these forums – it just gets wild.”

 

Just Posted

Cyclist reportedly struck by vehicle in Surrey

Man was rushed to hospital after incident on 104 Avenue

Family-friendly Halloween event planned for Historic Stewart Farm

South Surrey historic site to host ‘Haunted Farm’ event

South Surrey man allows smart meter installation ‘under duress’

BC Hydro says devices emit fraction of radio frequency from a cellphone

Students, volunteers plant 300 trees in White Rock park

City partnership to ‘mimic the natural growth’ of Ruth Johnson Park

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Man killed in Richmond had ‘no record of criminality,’ IHIT says

Stephen Chong, 58, was found dead in his business

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants down Swift Current

Cole Shepard is off the injury list. This was bad news for the other team.

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Most Read

l -->