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Suggestions have surfaced recently that the noise around skilled trades and scarce labour is nothing but hype and a means for unscrupulous employers to pay less for the work needing done. The argument goes there really is no labour shortage and Canadian workers are being released only to be replaced by Temporary Foreign Workers at a lower rate of pay.

The Federal government recently announced changes to the program specifically to address this issue.

It is really unfortunate for Alberta business, particularly small businesses, that a few abusers continue to grab the headlines and focus government policy toward stronger policing and tighter, more expensive procedures to justify much needed foreign workers. By all indications the vast majority of Alberta companies realize that TFW’s are temporary; either to eliminate an immediate short (mid?) term need, or the employer will sponsor the worker’s efforts toward permanent citizenship. By virtue of the TFW program requirements, a longer term solution must be part of the LMO application process in order to have permission to acquire TFW’s in the first place.

In 2012 Alberta filled almost its entire quota of allowable PNP applications toward permanent citizenship. 2013 looks even more promising. Hopefully the quota will continue to increase year over year to increase our permanent population of badly needed skills.more info.

Some recent good news, sort of, is the province’s announcement that the 10 year projection of unfilled jobs is somewhat less than originally expected, “Released on Jan. 15, the Alberta Occupational Demand and Supply Outlook indicated the projected worker shortage over the next decade has dropped from 114,000 to 96,000 workers. The new statistics now forecast a shortage of 96,000 workers by 2023(article)

And these stats are taking into consideration that Alberta and Saskatchewan are likely to continue to acquire more residents than leave each year from other provinces.

I believe both the provincial and Federal labour minsters are acutely aware Alberta, and to a lesser extent, western Canada, is the economic engine for all Canadians now and in the foreseeable future. It would be beneficial to all taxpayers not to impede the acquisition on labour during this critical period. It is time to put politics aside, to encourage Canadians to declare if they wish to relocate, and if there is still insufficient labour to meet demand, then help to expedite the process of minimizing the labour shortages in Alberta, rather than impeding their resolution.

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