August 8, 2013
The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment and Social Development
House of Commons
VIA FACSIMILE & EMAIL
RE: Amendments to the Temporary Foreign Worker program, as announced in the Canada Gazette,
Thursday, July 31, 2013
First of all, please accept my congratulations on your new role as Minister of Employment and Social Development.
We have always appreciated your keen understanding of the challenges faced by employers in the restaurant industry, as well as the important role our industry plays in creating jobs and opportunity in every Canadian community, and we look forward to a continued positive relationship.
In that spirit, I’m writing to you today regarding recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program. The
Canadian restaurant industry employs more than 1.1 million individuals. Of this number, 98 per cent are
Canadians or permanent residents, and just two per cent are temporary foreign workers. While this is a small percentage, the program is vital to members of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association who face chronic labour shortages in certain parts of the country. We support changes that will ensure the long-term viability of the TFW program, but we are concerned about unnecessary extra costs and red tape that will constrain the ability of our members to manage and grow their businesses to the benefit of all employees, including Canadian workers.
Specifically, we are disappointed the July 31″ amendments to the TFW program were announced with no prior consultation or notice given to our industry– particularly as they took effect immediately. The announced changes will add greatly to the cost and regulatory burden demanded by the TFW program while offering little evidence the new employer user fee will increase the efficiency and speed of the current application approval process. In addition, our members report they are experiencing difficulty obtaining information about implementation requirements of the new amendments, or are receiving conflicting information.
I would like to schedule a meeting with you, at your earliest convenience, to learn how the government intends to increase the efficiency of the program, as well as to discuss other pressing issues, such as establishing uniform Service Canada standards nationwide. In the immediate term we also require clarity around who is the person in your Department and your office with overall responsibility for the program, so that we can obtain accurate and consistent information for our members.
We have greatly appreciated your responsiveness to our industry in the past, and look forward to speaking with you about these recent TFW amendments so that our members can continue to access this vital program in a way that is fair and reasonable to all stakeholders.
President and CEO