Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW)

Temporary foreign worker programs are typically seen as short-term solutions to shortages of regional or occupational labor. The Canadian temporary foreign worker program was expanded, the process streamlined, with little regulation of workers, resulting in TFW’s becoming vulnerable to exploitation. Wiide regional discrepancies in wage rates have persisted. Employers not willing to pay industry standard wage rates, are finding it difficult to find workers. This has become the catalyst for the influx of applications to the program. 

A recent report by a Federal Auditor has revealed; “Canada's temporary foreign workers program is rife with oversight problems that appear to have allowed lower-paid international workers to take jobs that out-of-work Canadians could fill,” the federal auditor general says.

For the full story CLICK HERE


Labour Market Skewed

LiUNA has published four (4) research papers on the history, reform and continued issues plaguing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. We are now focusing on recommendations to correct the issues.

The Impact of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program on the Construction Labour Force in Western Canada

British Columbia - Policy Brief 
The Impact of Canada’s Migrant Worker Programs on the Construction Labour Force in British Columbia (2015 - 2016)

Policy Brief
International Mobility Program
Recommendations for Change 2017

Alberta - Economic Study
Potential Impact of the Employer Liaison Service and Canada-China Free Trade on the Construction Labour Force 2017

As well, LiUNA Western Canada was featured in Business in Focus Magazine to highlight the TFP and the impact it is having on the construction sector.

The Impact on The Industry

This issue is a real concern for ALL workers across Canada.

"Companies should have to pay whatever the going rate is for construction in a given area, because if they're allowed to advertise at a much lower rate and they're allowed to pay at a much lower rate, then they won't have as many Canadians applying, maybe none and on top of that, they will be depressing the wage rates of companies that are competing for the same work, and workers that are competing for the same work."
- Mark Olsen, LiUNA Western Canada Sub-Regional Manager

Temporary Foreign Worker Program issue in the media;

Globe and Mail - May 17, 2018

Globe and Mail - May 13, 2018

Global News - January 29, 2018

Globe and Mail - April 14, 2017

History Made

In 2008, the BC Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the workers were brought in on temporary visas and were employed with others in boring a tunnel that forms a major part of the transit line linking Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., and Vancouver were discriminated against in wages, accommodation, meals and expenses when compared to their European colleagues.

LiUNA Local 1611, (also known as the Construction and Specialized Workers' Union), launched a complaint with the tribunal and named the Canada Line builders, SELI Canada, SNCP-SELI Joint Venture and SNC Lavalin, as respondents. A subsequent Employment Standards Branch investigation examined the Joint Venture’s payroll and found that the TFWs’ complaint was valid. The SNCL-SELI JV was paying its TFW tunnellers as low as $3.47 per hour. Yes, $3.47 an hour!

Read the full story of this history making ruling


Coronavirus Preparation and Response Fact Sheet - Updated March 20, 2020

The Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America has developed a fact sheet in response to several questions about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). CLICK here for the Coronavirus FACT SHEET. Last updated March 20, 2020

Coronavirus & COVID-19: Preparation and Response

First known as the novel coronavirus, the virus now referred to as COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the number of cases in the U.S. and Canada continues to rise. It’s now critical that everyone does their part to limit the spread of the virus, as people without symptoms or with mild symptoms can still spread the virus to others.

Risk in the U.S. and Canada

Current risk of contracting COVID-19 in the U.S. and Canada varies by community based on the extent of the outbreak and the success of mitigation efforts. About half the people diagnosed with COVID-19 have already recovered. It’s estimated over 80 percent of those infected will experience only mild symptoms.

However, even people at low risk for serious health complications should take steps to protect groups who would be at higher risk if they got the virus.

Risk for more serious health effects is highest among:

Older adults (age 60 and up)
People with underlying health conditions (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer)
People with weakened immune systems
The majority of deaths caused by COVID-19 have occurred among people falling into at least one of these higher risk categories.

Transmission & Diagnosis

Transmission: spread primarily through airborne respiratory droplets during coughing and sneezing, but can also be spread through regular breathing. Being in close proximity (less than six feet) to an infected person, especially in enclosed spaces, can result in transmission. Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, or touching an object with the virus on it, followed by touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands can spread the virus.

Diagnosis: If you suspect you have COVID-19, call your healthcare provider. A lab test may be performed and sent to the CDC.