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]

4 Responses to TPP opens floodgates to unregulated temporary foreign workers

  1. Rod mcneil says:

    Leave them in they’re own country , we have enough to keep our jobs we don’t need TFW’s! Canadians first !!

  2. Brian says:

    The NDP are opposed to the TPP and the Liberals support it along with the Conservatives.

  3. KelDude says:

    The Liberals have said “they are in favour of trade agreements BUT we need to look at all the conditions and determine is the deal is right. It is NOT a “done deal” now that the Liberals are in power. If you don’t agree with TPP, tell your MP now. I did and he’s been in contact with me as well has forwarded my letter of concerns to the minister in charge of this area. He also asked her to send me a direct reply to my letter. Why don’t all of you do the same. Make your voice heard, send your MP a letter,the Liberals appear to be listening. Sitting back complaining will NOT help stop this abomination.

  4. Syed Hussan says:

    (1) There were about 38,790 people that came to Canada through international agreements in 2014 – not 230,000 as you quote. You can see the latest here: The vast majority of them came from the United States (over 24,000 came on NAFTA related permits).

    (2) Wage provisions are provincially mandated – and are not a function of international agreements. Migrant workers are paid less, but that is because they cannot ‘vote with their feet’, and move to a job that pays better. That is not the function of the TPP, but immigration laws in Canada that deny permanent residency which is necessary for work place mobility.

    (3) There are 1.3 million unemployed Canadians, that’s the official rate. Real unemployment is likely twice that. There are severe concerns about employment support and training, unemployment support, and the failure of many provinces and the federal government to put Canadians back to work — blaming migrant workers is a red herring. The numbers simply do not add up.

    (4) Instead of simply saying TPP will bring in too many migrant workers, and therefore that’s bad – we should be saying TPP will hurt lower waged workers in Canada and in all of these countries, and so we stop the TPP. At the same time, we need better immigration and labour laws so that we don’t have some people coming to Canada as permanent residents with full rights and others don’t.

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