Proposal for Skilled Workers Application Backlog
At first when I heard this news I was very upset because many of the foreign workers in Canada whose applications were to be cancelled have not received the procedural fairness to which they are entitled. It appears on the surface like the Minister is only trying to address the inefficiency of the processing procedure. Obviously, the backlog did not occur overnight, rather that the government was ill prepared to deal with the volume of applications that began to amass to address labour shortages in Canada.
The foreign worker program was designed to relieve stress of a labour shortage and stimulate the economy by assisting in manufacturing and service industries. Also the foreign workers themselves would pay taxes, buy groceries, clothing, and accessories. Currently there are 300,000 foreign workers affected by this proposal which was tabled to save money. Instead of hiring the staff required to process the applications quickly they are proposing cancelling all the outstanding applicants prior to February 2008 which would cost the Canadian taxpayers approximately 45 million dollars to issue the associated refunds. If they were to hire the staff to process these applications then the work force would expand by 300,000 workers. These 300,000 workers would need to buy groceries, clothing, and accessories and pay rent. If they spent an average $2000 per year on these items which is extremely conservative, that would boost the economy by $600 million dollars annually.
A more realistic figure would be a per capita expenditure of $4000 which would mean a boost of $1.2 billion dollars annually. It certainly is not like we are over run with foreign workers; in fact, the overall Canada is in shortage of work force. We really need these workers. When I was in school I learned about Newton’s First Law of Motion which states “to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. How does this apply to the Minister’s proposal? It is quite simple; if the Minister follows through on his proposal in an effort to save money there will be an equal and opposite reaction. The exact opposite of what the Minister is trying to accomplish will occur and it will not be a cost saving situation but a mass expenditure situation.
In summarizing my thoughts on this proposal I want to firstly review what the Minister is proposing:
● Cancel all foreign worker applications prior to February 2008;
● Return the money paid;
● Streamline a new process for them to reapply.
And the end result might be:
● Confusion over the administration of the new program;
● Massive financial loss immediate $45 million in refunds;
● Massive long term loss to the economy as much as $1.2 billion;
● Potential challenges to the procedural fairness of his proposal Class Action Suit;
● Canadian employers are having the reins tightened in the middle of a race.
My opinion is that this proposal is a very bad move for Canada.