Sask. man claims local workers laid off before TFWs

Troy Jessop suggested companies should have to offer a contractual guarantee that Canadian employees won't be laid off. Mike McKinnon / Global News

REGINA – A Saskatchewan man is upset with a Regina-based home developer, saying the company chose to lay him off instead of temporary foreign workers.

“I’ve been (in this province) for over 40 years. Why should I get thrown to the side because they signed somebody from out of country?” asked Troy Jessop at the legislature Monday.

Jessop worked as a painter for Deveraux Developments beginning in January 2014. In May of that year, Jessop said he helped train two workers from Ireland and one from Croatia the company had hired when it was determined there weren’t enough people locally who could do the job.

When layoff notices came shortly in to 2015, Jessop said he and three others lost their positions – while the workers from outside Canada were kept.

“I’ve got nothing against them,” Jessop said. “It’s the companies signing up these guys. They have to be held accountable instead of getting rid of the Saskatchewan workers.”

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Jessop suggested companies should have to offer a contractual guarantee that Canadian employees won’t be laid off.

Immigration Minister Jeremy Harrison said the government supports the federally-regulated Temporary Foreign Worker Program, but believes local workers shouldn’t be displaced by it.

“We want to see Saskatchewan residents with the first opportunity for employment,” Harrison said. “But we do know there’s a role for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in the province. We also know it’s a path to (permanent residency) and that’s ultimately what we want to see.”

‘Special relationship’

Deputy NDP leader Trent Wotherspoon raised the issue in question period, while accusing the Sask. Party government of treating Deveraux “with kid gloves” after letting the company off the hook for a housing contract in 2014.

“We’re very disappointed this government doesn’t have the backbone to take the case of Troy Jessop and these other two workers on to get to the bottom of it.”

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Harrison denied any special treatment of the developer.

“We have ministers and others who have had meetings with Deveraux at different points and I’m sure they’ve had professional dealings, but I can’t speak to anything myself.”

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Global News requests for comment from Deveraux Developments were not returned Monday afternoon.

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