Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Karl Flecker discusses how the Cons' push to encourage employers to use temporary foreign workers will affect wages for everybody:
In fact, what Kenney said was untrue. He has conveniently forgotten that his government significantly changed the wage rules for employers hiring high-skilled migrant workers. On April 25, 2012, after direct consultations with a select group of employers, Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources Skills Development Canada, announced a new "Accelerated Labour Market Opinion" to provide employers with "greater flexibility." "Wages," she said, "that are up to 15 per cent below the average wage for an occupation in a specific region will now be accepted."

Later in May, her department issued a backgrounder clarifying that employers would also be able to pay low-skilled migrant workers five per cent less than prevailing wage rates, and that the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process "may gradually be expanded to include risk-based processing for all occupations and components of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program." Simply put, this means the Conservative government plans to implement a pay-less wage structure across all streams of the program. Given that migrant workers are now present in every sector of the economy, this change will create the means to lower wages for all workers.

Minister Kenney's public assurance that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program requires employers to pay at or above the prevailing wage rate of any occupation does not hold water.
- Meanwhile, James Keller reports that the Cons are now "vigorously defending" the use of "temporary" foreign workers for upwards of a decade - even in the case of HD Mining where Diane Finley had to admit to problems with the use of that type of labour.

- Both Chris Selley and Bruce Anderson make the point that the Cons' refusal to consult or listen to anybody when it came to their omnibus budget monstrosities has only made it impossible for them to feign any willingness to work constructively with First Nations.

- Finally, Scott Sinclair writes about the possible effect of CETA on fisheries regulation. But without diminishing the importance of our fisheries, the most significant takeaway is that every other sphere of government action figures to be similarly affected.

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