(Ottawa) – Merit Canada is extremely concerned about the Government of Canada’s decision to grant the Canadian Labour Congress special vetting power as part of a temporary worker pilot project. According to the Government’s press release: “Potential applicants will first identify themselves to the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), a national labour organization with many construction industry affiliates in the GTA. CLC officials will determine the eligibility of potential applicants and refer them to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.” 1 The CLC will begin accepting applications next week (July 22 nd ).
“Important decisions about Canada’s immigration system should not be out-sourced, especially to a highly political and ideological organization like the CLC,” said Walter PaCmic, Treasurer of Merit Canada. “Will the CLC be imposing their own value-tests on these workers? Will union membership be a condition of permanent residency?”
The CLC has long been a critic of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and have previously demanded that every worker be granted access to permanent residency status.2 Given their political positions on the program, how can they be a fair judge?
“The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is an important tool for many Canadian businesses. It should not be used as a recruitment tool for the Canadian Labour Congress,” said Pamic. “Canadians don’t want a closed-shop immigration system, where an activist group will get to pick who gets to be a permanent resident in Canada”
The Government needs to re-think this decision. Canada’s immigration system is far too important to allow the CLC to play politics with it or use it for their latest membership drive. Merit Canada is the national voice of Canada’s eight provincial Open Shop construction associations. Our over 5,000 members employ over 80,000 Canadians directly and together we represent the companies and workers who build more than 70% of the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional, and Residential construction projects coast to coast. As of June 2011, the Canadian construction sector employed 1.260 million Canadians with 900,000 working in the “open shop” sector. This represents almost 8.6% of Canada’s total labour force, and 33% of the goods-manufacturing sector labour force.