May 16, 2017 10:37 am
Updated: May 16, 2017 1:41 pm

Auditor general finds oversight, enforcement problems of foreign worker program

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Canada’s auditor general says the federal temporary foreign workers program is rife with oversight problems that appear to have allowed lower-paid international workers to take jobs that out-of-work Canadians could fill.

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Michael Ferguson’s report says some companies have effectively built a business model on the program that could be having an unintended impact on the economy, including wage suppression and discouraging capital investment and innovation.

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The report says the government approved applications for temporary foreign workers even when employers had not demonstrated reasonable efforts to train existing employees or hire unemployed Canadians, including from under-represented groups like First Nations.

Nor did officials crack down on companies that ran afoul of the rules, conducting few on-site inspections or face-to-face interviews, and even when sanctions were recommended, the necessary approvals took months.

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Ferguson is calling for better oversight of the program and more pushback from federal officials to ensure companies applying to hire temporary foreign workers are doing so for the right reasons.

The department overseeing the program, Employment and Social Development Canada, says it plans to implement all of Ferguson’s recommendations.

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© 2017 The Canadian Press

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