Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Temporary Ain't What It Used to Be

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Temporary Ain't What It Used to Be

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Temporary ain't what it used to be

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published May 13:

Rule No. 1 of Canada's immigration policy is: You can't come here because you might take a job from a Canadian. This is followed by a dense, scarcely penetrable jungle of rules by which you might come here and work if you are hired as a nanny or a tomato harvester or if you are a refugee from political oppression or if your close relatives who live here will sponsor you or a wide range of other special cases. Each of these has an administrative structure to keep most of the people out.

The final rule is that all the rules are mutable if the minister is in political hot water. In the nature of immigration, the minister is in hot water most of the time because heart-rending tales surface every day where faithful application of the rules produces inhumane results. Consequently, the rules are in constant flux, new rules are written in response to last week's scandal and only full-time professional immigration consultants can tell employers and prospective migrants what is permitted on any given day.

The United States and the European Union operate in much the same way, except that the enormous numbers of illegal migrants flooding in from Mexico and North Africa make the elaborate structure of rules nearly pointless in those countries. Not so many people are trying to sneak into Canada, except as a back door into the U.S. American and European employers remedy skill shortages by hiring illegal immigrants. With a smaller pool of illegals, Canadian employers are more severely constrained.

In the latest fine-tuning of Canada's migration micro-management, the government repealed a year-old rule that employers could pay temporary foreign workers 15 per cent less than the average wage paid to Canadians for the same work. Information-technology workers at a bank head office in Toronto had been astonished to learn they were being laid off and their work given to an outside firm that would do it cheaper by hiring people from India. Their last duty before leaving would be to train the temporary foreign workers. …

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