The federal government is considering a further crackdown on its embattled temporary foreign worker program that could result in higher fees for companies hoping to hire foreign help and an elimination of the practice altogether in areas of high unemployment, The Canadian Press has learned.
Government officials presented various options on how to fix the troubled program during a meeting with stakeholders on Thursday.
Among them was the implementation of a so-called wage floor that would prevent companies from paying foreign workers beneath a set wage level yet to be determined. That measure would be aimed at making it more difficult for employers like fast-food restaurant to access the program, the stakeholders were told.
There could also be higher fees for companies seeking temporary foreign workers. Those fees would be on par with what American companies are charged to hire such employees, the stakeholders were also told.
Employment Minister Jason Kenney has been on the hot seat for weeks as fresh allegations have surfaced about abuses of the temporary foreign worker program by various companies, but particularly those in the food services sector. He placed a temporary ban on restaurants that prevents them for accessing the program, and has been vowing that a new slate of rule changes was on the horizon.
No final decisions have been made on further restrictions, the stakeholders emphasized. The government simply laid out potential ideas to tackle the abuses, and raised the possibility of exempting areas of the country with full employment from any crackdown measures.