Minister mulls barring foreign worker program for some fast-food jobs

posted on April 15, 2014

By Ian Bailey, the Globe and Mail | Link to Article

By Ian Bailey, the Globe and Mail | Link to Article

Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney says it may be time to bar the use of the temporary foreign worker program in filling some fast-food job needs because there should be enough Canadians to handle the work.

Mr. Kenney’s suggestion came Tuesday in an interview with CBC Radio One in British Columbia amidst a controversy over allegations that some Vancouver Island McDonald’s gave a preference to foreign workers acquired through the program over Canadian workers.

Asked why not rule that the fast-food sector couldn’t use the program, Mr. Kenney replied, “That’s not an unreasonable question.”

He added the issue is worth some analysis.

“I agree that’s a very good issue that our officials need to look at. I am skeptical that food-service jobs in urban areas with still relatively high youth unemployment need to use this program,” he told CBC Radio.

Mr. Kenney added he had been to small communities on the Canadian Prairies with effective full employment where young people can easily get jobs paying up to $30 an hour in oil fields, for example, so they would not be interested in fast-food work.

“In some cases like that, a limited use of the program may be justifiable.”

The NDP has previously raised questions about taking the supply of youthful domestic workers into account for the fast-food sector employment needs, notably McDonald’s.

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