Foreign temp workers in Atlantic tripled since 2005

Reports identifies largest increases in fish plans, food service.

May 21, 2014   by CANADIAN PRESS

HALIFAX — A report by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says the use of temporary foreign workers tripled in the region between 2005 and 2012.

The think-tank says there were 3,499 temporary foreign workers in the region as of Dec. 1, 2005, and seven years later that figure rose to 10,913.

The council says the largest increases were in lower-paying, lower-skill occupations such as fish plant and food service workers.

Senior economist David Chaundy says despite the rapid growth, temporary foreign workers represented one per cent of total employment in the Atlantic region, compared with 1.9 per cent nationally.

The report says the number of temporary foreign workers employed in fish plants in Atlantic Canada grew from five in 2005 to 960 in 2012, with 90 per cent of them working in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Chaundy also says the federal temporary foreign worker program continues to be an important tool for the recruitment of managerial, professional or specialized technical workers needed for short-term work.

But the report says recent and proposed changes to the program will make it more difficult for some Atlantic businesses to use it.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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