Richard Boraks - - LETTER TO THE EDITOR
TORONTO - Allow me to compliment you and the CFIB for your determined and consistent position on the trades –visa issue.
Mr. Kelly lays on the table some important points of discussion. First, there are 300,000 jobs in Canada that currently have no applicants. That cannot be good for the macro-economic picture and for productivity.
Second, neither Human Resources Canada nor Immigration fully appreciates the extent of the inherent bias against semi-skilled or properly trained tradespeople. Their policies do not serve the needs of employers, and by extension, the Canadian economy. In fact, there is finally an acknowledgement that many of the jobs “advertised” for TFWs are not temporary but permanent.
Third, Mr. Kelly suggests that such a template be used as a model to resolve not only the labour shortage that afflicts certain sectors of the economy – construction most notably and most severely – but also the egregious undocumented workers’ problem.
Fourth, there is a “pathway to citizenship” proposal that people can finally debate on the merits. To do that effectively some need to “put water in their [own glass of] wine.
Government appears ready to consider reality-based immigration programs. Reality means considering retention rates, social service costs and follow up family reunification cost data. The Fraser Institue studies and others which your paper has cited in the past may serve as a guide.
Each and every federal economic immigration program since 1972 has failed because they were based on “aspiration goals”, not data-based reality. A doable blue collar immigrant program can work. If we get it wrong, your members will the first to suffer the long term negative consequences.
Public policy acknowledgement of the skilled trades shortage in the GTA’s construction sector is crucial, in my view, to that success.
That sector has been the mainstay in high retention rates, low social service expenditure outlays by government, manageable family re-unification programs alleviating upward pressures for programmes directed to homebuying and infrastructure.
I am glad the CFIB has assumed a leadership role in moving that agenda forward.