Conference Board questions unemployment rate vs temporary foreign workers

July 23, 2013

With Canada’s youth unemployment rate sitting at 13.8%, and the national unemployment rate at 7.1%, the Conference Board of Canada is asking why so many temporary foreign workers (TFW) are still being imported into the country. As of December 2012, there were almost 340,000 TFWs at work in Canada, a dramatic rise from the 150,000 in 2006. The Conference Board has suggested 3 possible reasons for the increase in TFW employment: a skills mismatch, labour market rigidities (the suggestion that higher jobless benefits in some areas prevent people from moving for work), and the “perception” that employers can pay TFWs less. The TFW program has been the centre of controversy for some time, with some suggesting that the program distorts labour market needs. Globe and Mail