Alberta bans temporary foreign workers in 29 skilled trades

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Temporary foreign worker program, 29 skilled trades now banned Apache photo.

As of Dec., Alberta had third highest number of EI recipients in Canada at 97,870

Albertans will be first in line for available jobs under a new federal-provincial pilot project that will help employers hire locally, according to a government press release.

The new Employer Liaison Service will be piloted over 24 months and will provide targeted and enhanced recruitment support to Alberta employers to hire Albertans rather than temporary foreign workers.

The initial focus of service will be to support Alberta employers, looking for high-skilled workers in sectors with higher rates of unemployment.

A total of 29 high-wage occupations that have a sufficient local labour supply have been jointly identified and placed on a new “Refusal to Process” list under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

To find and hire unemployed Albertans, employers will get access to labour market information and better support to take advantage of existing federal and provincial services.

When asked whether the ban was a result of companies abusing the TFW program, Nicole Baum, AB government communications said, “No. This about helping companies doing business in Alberta connect with the available, skilled workers they need. Not all companies are fully aware of the different ways to find qualified workers or how to tap into resources such as underrepresented groups.”

Additional measures under the TFWP will include updating the existing 6 per cent rule quarterly, which is a refusal to process for certain occupations in the Accommodations and Food Services and Retail Trade sectors where the unemployment rate in an Economic Region is 6 per cent or greater.

The governments will continue to collaborate to increase awareness and promotion of the Work-Sharing Program for those employers directly or indirectly affected by the economic downturn, given its recent positive impact in Alberta.

As both governments continue to work together, additional ways to keep Albertans first in line for jobs will also be considered, including opportunities for people who are underrepresented in the workforce, such as Indigenous peoples, youth, newcomers and persons with disabilities.

“Our member companies applaud the Canadian and Alberta Governments for introducing this pilot program. Construction employs approximately one in nine working Albertans. Our members employ Albertans in communities across the province,” said Chris Ambrozic, senior vice chair, Alberta Construction Association.

“We believe in hiring Albertans first, Canadians next and foreign workers as a last resort. The pilot program has great potential to help our member firms support Alberta families.”

Quick Facts

  • Alberta’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.4 per cent in March 2017. This rate was up 0.1 percentage points from the previous month (8.3 per cent in Feb. 2017).
  • The unemployment rate increased because the labour force increased by 24,900 people from the previous month and employment increased by 20,400. Full-time employment increased by 20,700 and part-time employment decreased by 300 over the same period.
  • As of December 2016, Alberta had the third highest number of EI recipients in Canada (97,870). The number of EI recipients is up 54.8 per cent compared to December 2015.
  • Employers to benefit from the new services include those looking to hire individuals in management, business, finance, administration, natural and applied sciences, trades, transport and equipment operators, and occupations in manufacturing and utilities.
  • Alberta is the largest user of Work-Sharing in Canada. Between April 1, 2016 and March 30, 2017, there were 747 active Work-Sharing agreements underway in Alberta assisting over 12,076 employees.

Posted in: Canada

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