Thursday, 10 July 2014

Western premiers pitch freer trade, loosening TFW crackdown


The leaders of Canada's westernmost provinces say Ottawa needs to do more to cut red tape on trade between provinces and loosen up a little on the recent crackdown on temporary foreign workers.

The western premiers wrapped up a series of meetings with their Nunavut and N.W.T. counterparts in Iqaluit on Thursday with a largely unified front on what Ottawa needs to do to help provincial and territorial economies.
Flooding kept Manitoba's Greg Selinger and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall away from the venue itself, so they dialed in to the meeting and the subsequent news conference.

Onerous labour rules

After several high profile abuses, Ottawa recently overhauled the rules governing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, a move that some western communities said made it more difficult to meet their labour needs.

"All of us agree that the changes are detrimental to our jurisdictions," Alberta Premier Dave Hancock said at the end of the conference. "We will continue to talk to the federal government about that. But we also want to talk more broadly with the federal government ... on immigration policy, on labour market policy."
In the communique released at the end of their meeting, the western leaders chastised Ottawa on the new rules.

"Limiting the ability to hire foreign workers to address critical labour shortages will unduly punish responsible employers in Western Canada, particularly those in smaller and remote communities where Canadian workers are not readily available," they said.

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