Canadian HR Reporter

October 31, 2016

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

Issue link: http://digital.hrreporter.com/i/740313

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 1 of 19

CANADIAN HR REPORTER October 31, 2016 2 NEWS Recent stories posted on www.hrreporter.com. Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. WEB O N T H E ACROSS CANADA Quebecers rally for $15 minimum wage in Montreal Group cites 'growing unanimity' citizens cannot survive on $10.75 per hour Many Canadian CEOs not using social media: Survey Only seven per cent have Twitter accounts Deal means former Nortel employees and pensioners closer to getting paid Legal battle had been eating away at US$7.3-billion pot CCHRA becomes CPHR Canada Now using designation Chartered Professionals in Human Resources omson Reuters to hire 400 people over next 2 years for Toronto CEO, CFO, additional management relocating Jobs surge by 67,200 in September Unemployment rate holds at seven per cent Liberals to consult on promises of parental leave, compassionate care benefits Changes could have far-reaching implications Teary RCMP commissioner apologizes, announces harassment suit settlement $100 million earmarked for payouts AROUND THE WORLD Election campaign sparks more chatter, anger in workplaces Prohibiting political conversations could land employer in legal hot water FIFA sued over treatment of Qatar World Cup workers Suit calls for 'minimum labour standards' for migrant workers 'Instant job' apps find niche in Spain's troubled labour market Nimble formula allows people to find work quickly Even with rising wages, robot revolution skips restaurants But automation looms for U.S. eateries Top challenges for HR Our survey finds recruitment, retention are among the major headaches for human resources hrreporter.com FEATURED VIDEO 1.866.599.2720 Enhance your employee benefit program with CAREpath's employee health care navigation services ISO 9001 Quality Management System R e g i s t e r e d C o m p a n y www.carepath.ca CAREpath is a division of Bayshore HealthCare, a leading provider of home and community health care services. As a Canadian- owned company, Bayshore has been enhancing the quality of life, well-being, dignity and independence of Canadians since 1966. Cancer Assistance Program Our naviga on provides individualized case management for all types and stages of cancer and is delivered by a highly experienced team of specialists. Seniors Care Assistance Program Connec ng your employees and their parents to a registered nurse who can navigate and recommend services and support for seniors. We can help your employees get the right information about health care for their specific needs. Give us a call today! Mixed reviews for changes proposed in TFWP report Unions unhappy with suggested alterations, cite 'suppressed' wages BY MARCEL VANDER WIER THE LIBERAL government's recent attempt at reforming the Temporary Foreign Worker Pro- gram (TFWP is receiving two thumbs down from both national and provincial union representa- tives — but praise from a business association. "We are very disappointed in the committee's report as a whole," said Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff in Halifax, adding his advice to the federal government is to "basi- cally disregard the committee's recommendation." "e thing that really disheart- ened me is, had there not been a change of government, the previ- ous government could have writ- ten this report," he said. "It's aston- ishing to me." A House of Commons commit- tee tabled a report Sept. 19 outlin- ing recommendations for program reform drawn from upwards of 60 submissions by industry stake- holders, unions, employers, in- dividuals and senior government officials. e report includes 21 recom- mendations for the complex pro- gram which dates back to 1973, including a lax on previous regu- lations that made it difficult for foreign workers to become per- manent Canadian residents, and scrapping a rule that previously tied worker permits to specific em- ployers — a clause critics deemed to incite the potential for abuse. The major changes proposed by the Liberal government are intended to relax the strict hiring rules implemented by the previous Conservative regime, according to the government. Seeking middle ground Employment minister MaryAnn Mihychuk and immigration min- ister John McCallum issued a joint statement saying they will review the committee's report and re- spond to Parliament within 120 days. Mihychuk acknowledged that businesses must attempt to first draw from the Canadian work- force, but also have access to tem- porary foreign workers if needed. "e current Temporary For- eign Worker Program isn't work- ing," she said. "at's why we've made a commitment to bring forward changes to the program to ensure it works for employers, for vulnerable workers and for the Canadian economy." e influx of migrant workers into Canada has slowed in recent years, following federal restric- tions applied to the program in 2011 and 2014 — including a rule that limited workers to four-year terms. e number of approved tem- porary foreign worker positions in Canada this year was 54,000 — far less than the 118,000 of 2013, ac- cording to information provided by the government. e current number of migrant workers cor- responds to 0.3 per cent of the country's current workforce of 19 million strong. Not enough Recognizing it was the Liberal government's first attempt to re- form the program, Yussuff said he was hoping for much more than what the committee's proposal contained. "We were quite dismayed," he said. "It's almost like the commit- tee was in denial of the things that we had to say regarding why this program, for the most part, should be curtailed or even scrapped." e program suppresses wages and exacerbates unemployment levels in some parts of the coun- try, heavily favouring employers, he said, pointing to Alberta's eight per cent unemployment rate as an easy reason for the program to be discontinued. "We've got about four million people in the country that work for less than $15 an hour," he said. "I think this program, to some de- gree, suppresses wages from rising in (low-skill) sectors." e government's initial attempt at reform also drew criticism from a British Columbia union repre- senting construction workers. "ese changes they're recom- mending don't help employees at all," said Mark Olsen, manager of the Labourers' International Union of North America office in Surrey, B.C. "e way I look at it, there's really two goalposts to this thing. At one end, there's the pre- vailing rate and at the other end of the spectrum is a pathway to Ca- nadian citizenship. We need to get both those pieces right." Reform is needed to implement a more realistic prevailing wage for the construction industry, as Ca- nadians are missing out on work opportunities, he said, and compa- nies should want to put Canadians on the job first by paying them a "Canadian wage." Employers should adhere to best practice when using the Tem- porary Foreign Worker Program, said Olsen, including a resistance to view it as an opportunity to find workers at a lower-than-going-rate cost. Employers risk a legal challenge if they employ migrant workers when Canadians are available, or exploit temporary workers, he said. Source for talent But the ability to hire foreign na- tionals is still critical to the Cana- dian economy, and a critical source of talent for employers in occupa- tions and geographic locations facing a true skills shortage, said Warren Everson, vice-president of policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa. "e Canadian economy is ex- tremely flexible and ever-chang- ing," he said. "You need a lot of mobility to get the critical tool — which is a skilled worker — in the place you need them. We have a tremendous amount of benefit to our economy from being able to bring in highly skilled workers." To move the national economy forward, employers need to entice the world's top talent to work in Canada — regardless of citizen- ship, said Everson. He pointed to the country's na- tional pastime as a prime example, saying professional players from Sweden or Denmark playing in Canadian markets are technically taking the job from a Canadian. "But we want the very best in the world because we want to win games," said Everson, pointing to the potential economic benefits the country's largest urban centre would incur should Danish goalie Frederik Andersen lead the To- ronto Maple Leafs to the playoffs. "How many Canadians are go- ing to benefit from that? Conces- sions, parking, the media… ou- sands of people will benefit if a single, skilled foreign worker plays a pivotal role. We have to recognize that you need to use every device at your disposal to win. And when you win, the benefit to Canada — tax money, employment — is enor- mous, and we have to respect that." e same formula works for sec- tors such as technology and manu- facturing, he said. Employers don't look at tempo- rary workers as an easy solution, said Everson. "e cost of bringing in foreign workers — almost no matter how you cut it — is considerably higher. So if there are competent Canadi- ans around, employers are heavily incented to hire them."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian HR Reporter - October 31, 2016