Alberta To Review Its Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Alberta to review its Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Updated: Fri Sep. 03 2010 15:49:44

The province is extending an $850,000 program that helps temporary foreign workers.

Even though the economy has not fully recovered from the recession, the province says investing in foreign workers now will help down the road.

“One doesn't need a crystal ball to come to the conclusion that Canada, and most Western countries, will be facing a severe and acute labour shortage in several decades to come,” says Thomas Lukaszuk, Alberta's minister of employment and immigration.

On Friday, the province announced their financial commitment will go towards groups who help foreign workers transition from their home country to Alberta.

“While our focus will always be jobs for Albertans and Canadians first, it is important that we recognize the contributions of temporary foreign workers to our province – making them feel welcome and included in our communities is simply the right thing to do,” says Lukaszuk.

“We need that kind of support. We need the government to be involved, to recognize our efforts, our conditions as temporary foreign workers,” says Magno Daria.

Daria came to Alberta three years ago as a temporary worker. Today he works for the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society.

Along with the financial commitment, the province says it will review the impact of the arrival of these workers on Alberta's workforce, its communities, and its people to identify future programming options.

“With the changing economy of Alberta, I believe this is the right time for us to take stock, to take a look at what has worked well, and what needs improvement,” says Teresa Woo-Paw, the MLA for Calgary Mackay.

“When you have a program that you know will ramp up again, why not use the time of a temporary slow down to step back, reflect on it,” says Lukaszuk.

The findings and recommendations from the review will be presented by spring 2011.

More than 60,000 temporary foreign workers live and work in Alberta.