Canada’s Proposed Employment Insurance Policy Hurts Temporary Foreign Workers and Seasonal Industries


Just as Canadian Immigration legislation is undergoing a process of widespread reform, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley is proposing a similar reorganization of Canada’s employment insurance policy that will broaden the scope of a claimant’s job search and depress their wages the longer and more frequently EI is claimed.

Most importantly, the government’s reforms seek to connect the country’s unemployed domestic labour force to available jobs that they have the skills for, rather than allowing employers to recruit temporary foreign workers overseas.  This will eliminate opportunities for thousands of temporary foreign workers as the nation urges Canadians to commute for up to an hour if it means accepting a paid position that may compensate them for wages 90% less than their previous salaries. In turn, seasonal workers, the most frequent claimants of EI, will be forced to accept vacant retail or food-service positions.

Seasonal industries will bear the biggest brunt of these changes, many of which rely on seasonal workers and employ foreign labourers who acquired temporary work permits to fill Canada’s job vacancies.  In an interview with the Halifax Herald, farm owner Charles Keddy explains that locals are either unwilling or unsuited to perform heavy farm work. He worries that his business will suffer without the help of temporary foreign workers during busy seasons, limiting its opportunities for growth and expansion. Others remark that every temporary work permit granted for seasonal workers supports full-time jobs for Canadians in the industry.

These modifications will especially impact Provincial Nomination Programs in the Prairie and Maritime Provinces, whose economies are heavily supported by the pillars of seasonal activities such as fishing, tourism, and agriculture and profoundly rely on the help of temporary foreign workers.

Opponents to the federal government’s changes censure officials for not having properly consulted with Canada’s critical mass of unemployed workers, nor its labour force employed on temporary work permits.  

Inform yourself about changes to Canada’s employment insurance policy and its impacts upon the country’s temporary foreign worker program by consulting our Canada Immigration website or following @FWCanada on twitter. 

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