Do temporary foreign workers steal jobs and depress wages?
Despite the Conservative government's new employment insurance rules that aim to fill vacant jobs with unemployed Canadians instead, the number of temporary foreign workers in Canada has never been higher.
Canadian companies hire thousands of foreign workers each year to fill jobs that locals simply won't or can't afford to do. But is that really a solution?
"Employers will always be ready to find workers overseas who are eager to come to Canada and willing to work long hours for low pay. And under the Conservatives, boosting economic growth will always eclipse protecting workers’ rights," notes the Toronto Star.
"Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper assumed power in 2006, the number of foreign temporary workers admitted into Canada has grown by 40 per cent. The temporary worker stream is now larger than the stream of permanent workers intending to set down roots and become citizens," the Star maintains
And that labour tsunami could have a dramatic impact on wages for Canadians, particularly if you look beyond Ontario's agricultural sector.
Labour groups are unhappy with the changes, of course.
Employers are "are going to get a discount. They'll be able to bring foreign workers in and pay them less than what they would get if they were Canadian and living in this province, which is just a terrible decision and will drive wages down and keep them down," says the Alberta Federation of Labour's Nancy Furlong.
Do temporary foreign workers depress wages? Or are they simply willing to do jobs that native-born Canadians are not?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money