Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A modern form of indentured servitude is a deeply flawed business model, but gee, how it does breed corporate entitlement.

As the outrage builds among Canadians against the Temporary Foreign Workers Program Corporate Canada goes on the offensive.

Restaurant Canada and the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses have all issues their threats – businesses will close, Canadians will lose jobs, the government will lose revenue – and the world as we know it will come to an end. Although, I am not sure how much of a revenue stream the government will lose given by placing a moratorium of Temporary Foreign Workers visas, given that I am taxed at a much higher rate than the current corporate tax rates of businesses in Alberta. But I digress.

What appalls me is this sense of entitlement that permeates throughout the business class of this country. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Globe and Mail's poster child of responsible corporate use of Temporary ForeignWorkers:

Uttam Dey, who owns the Green Chili chain of six Indian restaurants in Calgary, said almost all of his 22 cooks are temporary foreign workers – mainly with experience working in New Delhi and Dubai. With plans to open three new locations in the next year, the news that Ottawa is imposing a moratorium on restaurant hires of temporary foreign workers came as a shock.

If I don’t get the visas, how am I going to open?” Mr. Dey said Friday. He said it’s almost impossible to find someone in Canada with skill as an Indian cook who’s not timid around his blisteringly hot 75,000 BTU clay ovens used to make naan bread and kabobs. He understands the concern if there’s abuses in the system, but said he plays by the rules and pays his workers fairly. “I’m not McDonald’s. I’m not Tim Hortons,” Mr. Dey said. “I’ve tried my level best to find Canadian cooks. I can’t find them.”
This is just so much wrong I am at a loss as to where to begin.

Green Chili operates a business in Canada, and allegedly wants Canadian customers to patronage his establishment using their hard earned Canadian wages to purchase his meals, but he is unable to find a single Canadian chef to hire to cook Indian cuisine out of a country of 37 million and must go outside the country to find chefs...who knew that Alberta lacks a single community college with a professional cooking program?

As incredulous as the above sounds, what galls me is the sense that the Canadian government must provide solutions for Mr. Dey's labour issues. It has somehow become the Canadian government's responsibility to ensure Mr. Dey has an adequate supply of his preferred chefs so he can continue to grow his business in the way he sees fit.

You know, there was a time when companies would think nothing of starting an apprenticeship program so that their business needs would always be met rather than relying on the government. Obviously, that is just old school thinking and is now completely without merit.

Mr. Dey claims he treats his Temporary foreign workers decently and pays them well, but fair treatment and decent pay are the kind of terms, which in my experience, are rather fluid by definition as in a beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder kind of way. 22 Chefs, and since, they have such a unique skill set, what's the going rate for decent pay?

Of course, if Mr. Dey, were to get sick or injured, he would probably thinking nothing of going to a local Canadian hospital and be treated by doctors licensed in Canada. And if, he had to get a prescription for medicine, he would expect to be able to go to a local drug store and buy medicine which was unexpired and duly regulated for sale in Canada by Health Canada. If a thief tried to rob his business, he would probably call 911 and expect Canadian police to attend his premises, and eventually prosecute the thief in the Canadian court system, but to hire a Canadian chef to cook in his restaurant...well, no.

We simply aren't up to his standards, and probably utterly untrainable besides. After all, it's our work ethics – not his.

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