OTTAWA – Add Rob Merrifield to the ranks of Conservative MPs who have complained privately about the government’s besieged temporary foreign worker program.
The Alberta MP wrote in 2009 to Diane Finley, then human resources minister, after a Boston Pizza franchise owner in his riding complained about having to pay his temporary foreign workers the prevailing wage rate.
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Merrifield’s letter says the owner felt he couldn’t afford to pay $15.82 an hour to a temporary foreign worker, but might have no other choice due to local labour shortages.
Merrifield, who served for three years as a junior minister before being dropped from cabinet in 2011, also writes that the owner was paying his eight temporary foreign workers more than their Canadian counterparts.
The letter says the foreign help was paid between $13.25 to $14 an hour, while the Canadians earned $12 an hour.
It asks whether it would be possible for the employer to pay his temporary foreign workers the same wage he was paying his Canadian employees.
© 2014 The Canadian Press