Post Image

Temporary foreign workers need more paths to immigration, experts say

June 19, 2023

By Tri-Cities News |

As hotel and restaurant owners increasingly turn to temporary foreign workers to fill labour gaps, there are growing calls to give those workers more paths to permanent residency.

“If there are particular occupations where there’s a real need and we’ve become dependent on temporary foreign workers … we should include them in a permanent system,” said Naomi Alboim, a senior policy fellow at Toronto Metropolitan University.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the labour picture for the accommodation and food service industry, the use of temporary foreign workers in the sector has been rising for years. According to Statistics Canada, their share of the workforce more than doubled from 4.4 per cent in 2010 to 10.9 per cent in 2020.

That share is expected to keep rising as companies struggle to fill tens of thousands of jobs amid record low unemployment, pandemic-accelerated early retirements and workers leaving for other sectors, said Adrienne Foster, vice-president of policy and public affairs for the Hotel Association of Canada.

Around 90 per cent of the association’s member employers have increased wages to try and attract more workers domestically, and many have increased benefits, development opportunities and other perks, but they’re still struggling to attract applicants, she said.

Read more