TORONTO - Spokespersons for Human Resources Canada claim that there are approximately one million “undocumented workers“ in Canada. Government MPs, Peter Fonseca among them, agree.For the uninitiated, “undocumented” refers to those who entered Canada legally/regularly, but, for one reason or another, have “overstayed” their VISA con-ditions. Many of them have found work, struck up an arrangement with an employer, show up on the job are productive and mind their own business trying to stay out o the radar. Their prudence is well founded. Canadian Border Services and their Boss, Minister Ralph Goo-dale, will deport them in a heart-beat, if they are found. Their employers are liable to a fine of $50,000 and/or 2 years in jail upon conviction of hiring or counselling the hiring of these “visa overstays”. That is the Federal law. Minister Goodale is a serious man. He and his department take their duties seriously. Yet 1,000,000, or thereabouts, men and women have avoided their enforcement measures. Their behaviour is understandable, even it o ends the procedural requisites of the Immigration Act. They are trying to earn a living, their children need to be schooled, the market forces driving the economy dictate that their employers continue to hire them if they want to stay in business. Minister Goodale is concerned only about “process and proced-ures” – not much skin in the game. Besides, his Provincial counterparts (in Ontario at least) aren’t anxious to help. Their concerns are related to observance of Ontario laws gov-erning the workplace - 8 of them, from safety to remuneration. Bluntly put, as far as Ontario is concerned, if Ontario laws are not contravened, nothing illegal has happened. According to a report by Buildforce, an Industry organization for the Construction sector, 86,000 plus are expected to retire over the next ten years. Meanwhile, the sector is ex-pected to generate a demand for 109,900 new entrants. In a sector already strained by a severe shortage of skilled and semi-skilled labour, how to make up for the shortfall? Of the one million “undocumented” workers cited above, more that 400,000 are in Ontario and the large construction unions are estimated to have at least 60,000 in their ranks – “ghost workers”, as baptized by one employer – without whom the Industry would collapse overnight. The various School Boards which accommodate children of the “undocumented” in their schools and programs would im-mediately experience school closures and teacher lay-offos. Of drastic proportions. One Toronto area school board admits, off the record, that 9% of its student body fall into the category of “children of undocumented workers”. Like the entrepreneurs and unions in the construction Indus-try, they hope Minister Goodale does not take his not take his job too seriously.If Minister Hussein were to be more proactive, they would not be in this quandary. His inaction on the fi le is be-coming increasingly puzzling. He seems equally oblivious to the wealth of potential workers available to Canada from Italy. Perhaps there are already too many Canadians of Italian origin – 1.5 million – or he and his government have “better fish to fry”. For issues of policy known only to the officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, Minister Hussein is focused almost exclusively on “liberating” 35,000 failed Refugee claimants languishing in Israeli detention camps or fi nding ac-commodation for the 5,000 illegal border crossers from the USA.What is the economic strategy or fi scal saving to be gained here?
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