Temporary Foreign Workers in Trades in Alberta (2012)

This research study explores the effects of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) with respect to skilled trades workers.

The authors note that the TFWP has grown in significance in the past decade, particularly in the province of Alberta. Despite this growth, there has been relatively little research into the effects of the TFWP.

During 2010-2011, the researchers interviewed 27 people involved with foreign worker recruitment, including a total of 11 foreign workers. They also interviewed five employers, three union officials, six government representatives, and two non-profit agencies. Workers also completed a pre-interview survey for the collection of demographic and employment-related information.

The authors found that despite regulation, temporary foreign workers (TFWs) are often required to pay excessive recruitment fees that increase their financial insecurity and add to their stress. The requirement to achieve trade certification within a short period of time is challenging, with language barriers and less than ideal conditions for preparation contributing to lower success rates.

Rigidity in the TFWP design clashes with the need for flexibility in the construction industry. This affects both employers, who are looking for quick access to pools of labour, and TFWs themselves, whose limited mobility rights hamper their employment prospects.

The TFWP, with its lack of accountability and restriction of worker rights, may be ill-suited to address structural labour shortages of the nature experienced in construction, the authors say. If it does continue to be used to address labour needs, more attention must be paid to ensuring a fair process for recruitment, credential, and residency processes.

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APA citation
Alison Taylor, Jason Foster and Carolina Cambre. Temporary Foreign Workers in Trades in Alberta 2012. Web. 7 Oct. 2022 <http://en.copian.ca/library/research/wln/temporary_foreign/temporary_foreign.pdf>
Alison Taylor, Jason Foster & Carolina Cambre (2012). Temporary Foreign Workers in Trades in Alberta. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from http://en.copian.ca/library/research/wln/temporary_foreign/temporary_foreign.pdf
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