FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2014

TORONTO – Restaurants Canada agrees with the conclusion in today’s C.D. Howe Institute report that better labour market information is needed in Canada, but cautions against other recommendations that further restrict the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program.

“The analysis by Dominique Gross is based on data up to 2012 when Temporary Foreign Worker permits peaked in Canada,” said Joyce Reynolds, Restaurants Canada’s Executive Vice President Government Affairs. “It does not consider the impact of program reforms introduced last year.”

In 2013, the government introduced a permit application fee and other legislated requirements that increased the cost and administrative burden for program users. Since then, the number of Temporary Foreign Workers in the restaurant industry has rapidly declined, falling 28% between 2012 and 2013, and 38% in the first three months of 2014.1 Unfortunately, this drop has also led to more unfilled restaurant jobs, particularly in western Canada.

“Better labour market information is indeed needed to help program administrators assess the seriousness of labour shortages in specific communities and regions in the country,” says Reynolds.

Albertans will well remember the signs on many restaurants in the mid-2000s that said “closed due to shortage of workers,” and the long lineups at other short-staffed restaurants. For communities experiencing severe labour shortages, the TFW program has played a critical role in keeping restaurant businesses operational, which has created economic benefits, provided necessary services to other businesses, and most importantly, kept Canadians employed.

1. Calculations based on the best available numbers provided by Economic and Social Development Canada.

Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers. Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper.

Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs more than 1.1 million Canadians, contributes $68 billion a year to the Canadian economy, and serves more than 18 million customers every day.

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