In the fall of 2008 I was writing about the pitfalls of bail-outsand the Royal Bank outsourcing – all of which goes to show there is nothing new under the sun...which probably explains why this Toronto Star editoral misses one salient and important point in calling for a review of the Temporary Foreign Workers program - and I quote.
As a private company, RBC has the right to outsource work and deal with any ensuing fallout for giving Canadian jobs to lower-paid workers overseas. (Toronto Star)
Really now. Just how ‘private’ is the Royal Bank of Canada? All the Canadian banks have been coddled, feed and protected by government legislation from foreign competition for decades, and in the last 5 years; the Royal Bank (like other Canadian Banks) have suckled the $114 Billion from the public teat to ensure the financial prosperity of those very banks which are currently outsourcing Canadian jobs to foreign countries.
(graphic shamelessly stolen from Blazing Catfur)
If I were the Prime Minister of Canada and channeling my inner Maggie Thatcher I would order my Minister of Human Resources to do the following without wobbling.
1. 1. Immediately cancel all foreign worker and visa permits by companies whose business is to outsource labour from Canada or import cheap foreign labour into Canada. There is simply no need for any consulting firm, such as iGate or the Tata Consulting Group, to import any to worker under a TFW permit to work for them in Canada. You can conduct business here, but you must hire Canadian workers for your Canada operations.
2. Any company which has laid- off workers in the last 24 month period is simply ineligible to hire anyone through the TFW program.
3. Any business which takes public funds or is protected from competition via government regulation is not allowed to hire anyone under a TFW program or allowed to ‘outsource’ their business operations outside of Canada in order to conduct business in Canada. In this way, IBM Canada cannot use IBM India to conduct business operations in Canada. IBM is welcome to build up their business in India for Indians but it cannot build prosperity for IBM India from the pockets or on the backs of Canadians.
4. Any firm which relies on no or low skilled workers is completely ineligible to hire anyone under a TFW permit with the exception of migrants in agricultural farming. There is simply no excuse for Tim Horton's Bell and McDonald's to not hire local workers.
5. Any business entity which hires a skilled foreign worker must prove there was no Canadian willing to fulfill the position after a six month national search and pay a TFW a salar;y 20% higher than the prevailing Canadian labour market rate for a similar job in their area. Furthermore, each employers must pay for extensive health care coverage and benefits for a TFW employee.
6. To be eligible to hire any skilled foreign worker under a TFW permit a company must prove there is already an in-house apprenticeship or training program in place for training locals for such skills.
7. Any Canadian corporation who has business operations outside of Canada must pay a supplemental corporate tax rate based on the percentage of its business interests currently operating outside of the country which directly contributes to its functioning as a business entity in Canada.
For example, Bell Canada has moved its' Canadian call centers and billing operations to the Philippines. Let us pretend Call Centres and the Accounts Receivable department of Bell Canada makes up 17% of Bell's total workforce operations; so consequently, Bell Canada needs to pay an additional 17% surtax on corporate earned income in Canada. Don’t want to pay a 17% surtax – hire Canadian and keep your operations in Canada for Canadians.
8. I realize that Stephen Harper has spent a great of time and money to sign free trade deals with everyone and their grandmother, but to safeguard Canadian industries; let’s add an employee surtax for every good or service which needs to be imported into to Canada…I realize the Free Traders will be howling but there is no such thing as free trade with countries whose governments subsidize their industries and workers – think China.
All of which is all well and good – except the Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not any such actions because his government has been far too busy promoting the prosperity of foreign workers in the interests of his corporate crones to concern himself over the prosperity ordinary Canadians….and I quote -
Canada announced it would spend $15.5 million over four years to support job training of young people in the Philippines as well as help streamline the regulations around infrastructure projects. (the National Post)
While $15.5 Million over four years for job training of young people in the Philippines might not seem to buy a great deal of bang for your buck in Canada; this is huge money for the Philippines - who incidentally just happen to benefit extraordinarily from the Temporary Foreign Workers program.
But more importantly, ask yourself; why a Canadian Prime Minister is financially supporting the employment aspirations of non-Canadian young people during one of the most serious economic crisis Canada has faced since the Great Depression? And it is under this same Prime Minister’s watch that the Temporary Foreign Workers program has expanded just so damned dramatically.
I may have had to give back my Capitalist decoder ring and I have a number of people accusing me of being a liberal because I am firmly in the ‘anti-Harperite’ camp but it is my belief that there is nothing conservative about the Harperites other than their name. In my defense, I can say at least I am not a liberal progressive and have to wrestle with progressive ‘values’ or feel conflicted by opting to choose the welfare of my fellow compatriots over all else.