In a recording of the call given to the CBC, McDonald’s Canada CEO John Betts discusses recent CBC stories on the company’s use of temporary foreign workers and his resulting meeting with federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney.
“This has been an attack on our brand. This has been an attack on our system. This is an attack on our people. It’s bullshit OK! I used those words when I described my conversation with the minister last week. He gets it.”
Meanwhile, earlier that day…
Changes to the temporary foreign worker program that made it easier for employers to hire from abroad in recent years were a factor in rising unemployment rates in B.C. and Alberta, according to a C.D. Howe Institute report released today.
Low-skilled workers with some high school education were hardest hit by the changes, according to the report by Simon Fraser University public policy professor Dominique Gross titled Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada: Are They Really Filling Labour Shortages?
A change to the program between 2007 and 2010 accelerated rising unemployment levels by 4.8 percentage points in B.C. and 3.1 percentage points in Alberta, the report said.
“This suggests that … by lowering employers’ constraints on hiring TFWs, the federal government reduced the incentives for employers to search for domestic workers to fill job vacancies.”
I think John Betts might convene a crisis meeting tomorrow.
“Yes, they are disenfranchised. Some of them don’t work for us anymore. But in the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.“
Temporary Foreign Workers are vulnerable.
B.C.’s Employment Standards Branch and the restaurant chain launched an investigation after Filipino Richard Pepito, a former employee, went public with accusations that the franchise owner gave him paycheques that included overtime, but then required Pepito to pay the owner the overtime back in cash.
He told The Sun last year he wasn’t alone in being denied overtime pay, and staff were led to believe that if they complained they would lose their status under the temporary foreign worker program and be sent back to live in poverty in their home country.
“I felt discriminated against, harassed and bullied,” said Pepito.
They are being exploited to undercut Canadian workers, breeding resentment.
UPDATE: The CFIB’s Dan Kelly weighs in unwisely again:
You’d think one would have get the data first before offering full-throated support, but that’s just me.