No more foreign workers for fast food sector

2014-04-24

Hand stopping motionThe Government of Canada just announced that there is an immediate moratorium on foreign worker applications in the fast food sector for all provinces.

Why did this happen?

There will be a full review of the program after several media stories of a few employers who allegedly abused the program by hiring foreign workers when perhaps there may have been Canadians available to do the work.

Or that Canadians already working had their hours cut after the company hired foreign workers.

The most high profile case was that of McDonalds Restaurants, where it is alleged that foreign workers were given priority work status or more hours.  Also alleged are misrepresented application forms, though none of this has been proven in court.

Three McDonalds locations in Victoria, BC have been “blacklisted” by CIC, meaning they can no longer participate in the temporary foreign worker program.

There is no question that the government had to respond to these allegations as reported in the media.

However, placing a moratorium on the entire fast food sector seems extreme in the circumstances.  Many employers who rely on foreign workers will be hurt by this decision.

It may lead to some employers ceasing to operate, which means their Canadian employees (and their Canadian service providers – everyone from janitorial staff to accountants), will also lose business.

I have no idea whether the allegations against McDonalds are true or not.

However, I do know employers in the food sector, and they always say that it is very hard to find Canadians to work late shifts, especially at locations which are open 24 hours.  So although there may be Canadians available, filling late shifts or odd shifts is often difficult.

I hope the review is done quickly, and a more rational approach to the foreign worker program for the fast food sector is taken.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile

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