Canada's generous guest-worker program has often been held up by Big Business groups as a model for the United States to follow, but the Canadian government has announced plans to scale it back. The government is reducing the number of visas issued, the length of time that workers can stay in the country, and increasing the fees for businesses that wish to use the program. The changes have upset business groups in the country, but comes at the urging of the Canadian citizenry.
Critics said that businesses were using it to hire foreign workers over Canadian workers and to suppress wages. Employment Minister Jason Kenney reiterated the intent of the program during a press conference last week where he announced the new policy.
"The temporary foreign worker program is only used as a last and limited resort," Kenney said. "That Canadians always come first, that employers redouble their efforts to hire Canadians for available jobs, and to ensure that this program works in the best interests of the Canadian economy."
Moving forward, a work site can't have more than 30% of its workforce on foreign worker visas, and the percentage is reduced over time until it ultimately reaches 10% in 2016. Further, in areas with an unemployment rate higher than 6%, employers in low-skilled industries will be barred from using the program to fill low-wage jobs.
Employers who violate any terms of the new limits could face up to $100,000 (Canadian) fines.
For more on this story, see the Wall Street Journal.
Updated: Mon, Jul 24th 2017 @ 2:31pm EDT