Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chris Alexander, Minister of IMPs and ICTs

When Jason Kenney grandly announced his new temporary foreign worker program reforms last week - Putting Canadians First! - he slyly handed off the greater part of his troubles to Chris Alexander - Minister of Gollumization, Citizenship, and Immigration - and now also Minister of IMPs and ICTs.  

We don't hear much about IMPs (outside of childrens' books) - the International Mobility Program under which the majority of workers enter Canada. They do not have to pass a labour market test (LMIA) to determine whether they will be putting Canadians out of work because, as our new MinIMP explained, the program is intended to benefit not individual businesses by filling specific jobs, but rather "Canada as a whole".

Of the 221,273 foreign nationals who entered Canada in 2013, 38% came in under the TFWP, but 62% came in under the IMP - 83,740 vs 137,533

Then there's the ICTs - Intra-Company Transfers - also not reliant on LMIAs to safeguard Canadian jobs because they were created to allow multinational corps to move their skilled workers easily from country to country.

You may recall this whole TFW fiasco first blew up in the public eye because the Royal Bank farmed out part of its IT work to iGATE, a company that straddles US, Canada and India, who then cycled its workers in and out of Canada for training by RBC staffers they would later replace under an intra-company transfer
As RBC CEO Gord Nixon explained at the time, only one of them came into Canada as a TFW, and besides, RBC "does not get involved in the hiring practices of the companies it hires."

In BC, eight US construction workers were granted entry to BC by the CBSA under an ICT after a US company got the contract to build a wood-waste storage building near Prince George. These "specialized workers" included a former rancher and an apprentice roofer and produce clerk. Yea NAFTA! and all that, but don't we have enough ranchers, apprentice roofers, and produce clerks looking for any kind of work in Canada already?

Asked about the union-backed court case protesting import of the eight US workers, Kenney referred reporters to Chris Alexander, but a year ago he stated : "The obligations we have have for intra-company transfers are often hard-wired into trade agreements."

G&M, May 17, 2014 :
"The final text of the much-vaunted Canada-European Union free trade agreement (CETA) is expected to include a list of occupations that can be fast-tracked into Canada and would allow European firms to bring European workers into Canada through inter-company transfers ...  
The Conservative government has described the deal’s provisions for temporary entry of labour as “the most ambitious ever in a free trade agreement.”
Still you can't please everyone.
B.C.’s deputy premier and natural gas development minister Rich Coleman is worried Canada is going to "fail" if companies cannot hire temporary foreign workers for the 100,000 jobs needed to develop LNG export projects on the coast.

The Kitimat LNG project is co-owned by Canadian branches of U.S. energy giants Chevron Corp. and Apache Corp. Will they be bringing in their own workers?
TransCanada, once billed in the US as "an American company with operations in Canada", is slated to build a $1.9-billion pipeline link for Kitimat LNG project. 

In February Mr. Coleman announced there was "no question the industry will be looking to foreign workers to get up and running", and in March he touted the importance of being on 
"a continent with a lot more people south to us ... so we have access to other skilled labour on the continent and there are people who are very good at doing certain jobs - specialized welders." 
One presumes he isn't referring to the TransCanada welders on the southern leg of the Keystone XL Canada to Texas project
"Over 72 per cent of welds required repairs during one week. In another week, TransCanada stopped welding work after 205 of 425 welds required repair.
Inspections by the safety agency found TransCanada wasn’t using approved welding procedures to connect pipes, the letter said. The company had hired welders who weren’t qualified to work on the project because TransCanada used improper procedures to test them."

So. PM-hopeful Jason Kenney's TFW Program "will now refer to only those streams under which foreign workers enter Canada at the request of employers following approval through a new Labour Market Impact Assessment." 
For everything else - the difficult politically damaging bits - there's the guy wearing the IMP ears.


Anonymous said...

Bravo for this post.

I wasn't aware of the IMP slight of hand.......

RossK said...

What Anon-Above said...

Really is a king hell, important post Alison.


Dave said...

Killer post! Great work Alison.

the salamander said...

.. don't forget this startling information re
all of The Harper Party economic programs ..
and importing skilled immigrants due to
complete lack of skilled Candians
in fifty job categories

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander told a committee of MPs this week that express entry is "the top priority" for his department.

"It's the new system for delivering all of our economic programs starting on Jan. 1, 2015," Alexander said on Wednesday.

e.a.f. said...

Hadn't read the blog for a bit and find all of this new information. Yikes. Of course it would be interesting to know why the MSM isn't reporting on any of this, but then we were reading about the TFW issues on blogs way before the MSM caught on, or were forced to.

Time to write a letter to my MP and MLA.

If the government knows they will be short of workers why aren't they training kids who are now graduating from high school. I'm sure many of them would love to become welders and pipefitters, not to mention a whole lot of people who can find work only in the service sector.

Harper might want to realize he has an election coming in 2015. Information like this just might get him tossed out of office. We can hope.

Alison said...

Thank you so much, Ross and Dave, for giving my post a push at The Gazetteer and The Galloping Beaver today. There's always that point at 2am where you're trying to get a handle on it all and the little voice in your head is saying - you have to be at work in 6 hours and no one's going to read this anyway so maybe it's time to admit you're just crap at this and give up blogging - and then along comes you guys. Much appreciated. Overwhelmingly appreciated tonight actually after a couple of glasses of wine. ;-)

Salamander : That would be Express Entry, first pushed through the House without debate in Budget Ommnibus Bill C-4 last fall and to be implemented starting 2015 for $14M under - get this - the Canada Action Plan!

Bet you anything the Cons will use it next year to boast they have created 25,000 new jobs!

25,000 new jobs in 50 categories due to a labour shortage we now know was jacked up using Kijiji stats.

25,000 new jobs in categories like "university professors". Yeah, big effing shortage of those in Canada for sure.

Pressers sent out in January and April described it as being like a "dating site" in which employers and the provinces have access to a n "employment database pool". Alexander spun it as government getting out of the way of industry.

On the up side, it at least allows foreign workers access to permanent citizenship, instead of pretending they have "specialized knowledge" on entry and then sending them home after they build a friggin' shed.

e.a.f.: MSM does report it but it's a bit about Coleman wanting 10,000 foreign workers in one newspaper and another bit about TransCanada welding failures in the US in a different paper and a blurb about Alexander's new gig in a third place. What we need is labour reporters to tie it all together.

Re "why aren't they training kids who are now graduating from high school".
Well they are, but now they'll have to compete with 25,000 foreign workers who already have experience in their field.
For comparison, see Switzerland's system in Generation Jobless where kids apprentice as part of their schooling paid for by industry. Result - 40% of kids in apprenticeships and 2.8% unemployment.

Alison said...

I should add that those 25,500 job applications are for foreign workers who don't already have a pre-arranged job offer.
According to Citizenship and Immigration : "There is no limit on the number of new applications with offers of arranged employment."

Here's the list of the 25,500 new job applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Class to be considered for processing for the period of May 1, 2014, to April 30, 2015, as per Citizenship and Immigration, April 26, 2014. (The number beside each is just the National Occupational Classification) :

• 0013 Senior managers — financial, communications and other
business services
• 0015 Senior managers — trade, broadcasting and other
services, n.e.c.
• 0111 Financial managers
• 0112 Human resources managers
• 0113 Purchasing managers
• 0121 Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers
• 0311 Managers in health care
• 0711 Construction managers
• 0712 Home building and renovation managers
• 0811 Managers in natural resources production and fishing
• 0911 Manufacturing managers
• 1111 Financial auditors and accountants
• 1112 Financial and investment analysts
• 1113 Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers
• 1114 Other financial officers
• 1123 Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and
public relations
• 1212 Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers
• 1224 Property administrators
• 2113 Geoscientists and oceanographers
• 2131 Civil engineers
• 2132 Mechanical engineers
• 2133 Electrical and electronics engineers
• 2145 Petroleum engineers
• 2171 Information systems analysts and consultants
2172 Database analysts and data administrators
• 2173 Software engineers and designers
• 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media
• 2232 Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians
• 2234 Construction estimators
• 2241 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and
• 2243 Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
• 2263 Inspectors in public and environmental health and
occupational health and safety
• 2281 Computer network technicians
• 3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
• 3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
• 3111 Specialist physicians
• 3112 General practitioners and family physicians
• 3132 Dietitians and nutritionists
• 3141 Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
• 3142 Physiotherapists
• 3143 Occupational therapists
• 3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and
cardiopulmonary technologists
• 3215 Medical radiation technologists
• 3216 Medical sonographers
• 3233 Licensed practical nurses
• 3234 Paramedical occupations
• 4011 University professors and lecturers
• 4151 Psychologists
• 4214 Early childhood educators and assistants
• 5125 Translators, terminologists and interpreters

Boris said...

Alison, I'm so glad you're covering this. Any Opposition party could use this material to bury the Conservatives as these programs are actually direct attacks on Canadians because they assault the very conditions Canadians need to procure livelihoods - and therefore basic needs.

WILLY said...

GREAT GREAT graphics of Alexander. You captured his pixie soul.

Anonymous said...

Alison, this is a great blog you have going. And the photo mashups are hilarious.

Thank you.


Alison said...

Thanks, Boris, Willy, and Diogenes. Much appreciated.

Just parking this here for the minute till I get back to it ...

As of yesterday the Alberta Federation of Labour is reporting TFW welders are still being hired at half the going rate :

"A Kijiji ad, posted by a recruiter on June 27, 2014, suggests approvals were granted to employers to fill jobs as Welders and Related Machine Operators (NOC 7265) in Alberta and Saskatchewan at wages of $13 to $20 per hour."

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