Is there a more contentious issue in Canadian trucking today than the Temporary Foreign Worker Program? As most of you know, this program allows trucking companies and other employers of in-demand workers to fill positions they can’t fill locally by importing qualified employees from abroad. Some argue this is a necessary program, since few Canadians are interested in becoming professional drivers. Others argue the program doesn’t address the real reasons behind the driver shortage, and does nothing to encourage carriers to pay drivers a better wage.
Regardless, the program has undergone some serious changes after allegations of misuse. During a recent Webinar, the B.C. Trucking Association invited Michael Patterson of Pro-Hire Solutions to update carriers on the changes. You can read the report here. Below, I’ve outlined four ways you can get into hot water under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, as explained by Patterson during the Webinar. Here are four tips to keep out of trouble when using the Temporary Foreign Worker program:
Advertise for drivers locally: If audited, you’ll be expected to show proof that your company placed ads for drivers in appropriate publications or Web sites. You can’t make Europe or India or Jamaica your first option.
Don’t ignore out-of-province Canadian applicants: If you’re offering transportation and relocation costs for foreign workers, you better be offering the same to Canadian applicants – even if they’re from out of province. If you’re advertising driving jobs in Alberta and a qualified candidate from Nova Scotia applies, they have to be given the same considerations as a foreign applicant.
Don’t give foreign workers preferential treatment: If layoffs are necessary, or if desirable work that pays better becomes available, Canadians should be offered the opportunity to remain working and benefiting from the good-paying work. “If there is certain work that is available within your business and it pays more or has added benefits, you must have a policy as to how that work is doled out,” Michael advised. “If Canadians are disenfranchised because you are giving more or better paid work to temporary foreign workers, those things will be looked at.”
Follow through with transition plan: A transition plan is required, which will outline how you plan to help your temporary foreign workers obtain permanent resident status. Auditors will want to see proof that you did what you said you’d do in this transition plan and that you’re not simply sending them home and replacing them with others.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies