TPP opens floodgates to unregulated temporary foreign workers

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could see hundreds of thousands of additional temporary foreign workers (TFWs) entering Canada without any consideration of their impact on the local labour market leading to worsening unemployment among Canadian workers, labour groups warn.

The Canadian Workers Advocacy Group(CWAG) points out that 230,000 TFWs enter Canada annually under the labour mobility provisions of existing agreements, and the magnitude of the latest trade deal means that the numbers will increase significantly.

This is on top of the 165,000 TFWs who enter the country on average per year with a positive Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA).

CWAG also expressed concern that unlike other trade deals, the TPP includes developing countries such as Vietnam and Peru, and corporations will use the intra-company transfer provisions of the trade agreement to bring in low-wage workers and displace Canadians.

The minimum wage is 65 cents per hour in Vietnam and $1.27 per hour in Peru.

The TPP also extends right to work to work privileges to individuals from twelve partner nations and their spouses.

Other commentators have issued similar warning about the deal.

“The provisions could be problematic for how we govern the use of temporary foreign workers,” CBC commentator Armine Yalnizyan said. “You remember the RBC example? where a multinational brought in temporary foreign workers to learn how to do the job properly so they could take the job to India and eventually displacing workers.”

“We want the temporary foreign worker program to show that these transfers are not displacing Canadian workers,” she added. “But that this is not what we are talking about in this trade deal.”

The Conservatives have vowed to ratify the deal if they are re-elected. The Liberals and the NDP have declared that the full text of the agreement needs to be scrutinized before agreeing its ratification.

[Photo Credit: ROM]