Gateway Gazette

Alberta Business Owners Split on Changes to TFW Program



Calgary – Alberta small and mid-sized business owners agree the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program is a necessity, but appear split on recent changes to it. That’s according to the latest ATB Financial Business Beat survey, due for release next month.

According to the survey, 72 per cent of Alberta small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) agree the TFW program is what is needed to deal with the labour shortage in the province. However, 18 per cent of Alberta SMEs have used the program and nine per cent currently use it.

“What really stands out to me is the difference in opinions on the Temporary Foreign Worker program between those owners and operators who’ve used the program and those who haven’t,” says Wellington Holbrook, ATB’s Executive Vice-President, Business & Agriculture.

Of Alberta SMEs that have used the TFW program, 14 per cent agree with the changes, which include increasing fees, capping the number of temporary foreign workers per employer and limiting the duration temporary foreign workers can stay in Canada. Among SMEs that have not used the TFW program, 44 per cent agree with the changes.

There was also a wide gap in opinion about the impact of the TFW program on the Alberta economy. Among non-participating SMEs, 38 per cent believe the program takes away jobs from Albertans, while 12 per cent of participating SMEs believe the same.

And while 79 per cent of participating SMEs believe it’s difficult to hire Albertans for lower-skilled positions, 60 per cent of non-participating SMEs agree.

The survey was conducted by NRG Research Group by contacting 300 randomly selected SME owners/operators between August 11-22, 2014. Qualifying businesses had fewer than 500 employees and less than $20 million in annual revenues. Margin of error is plus or minus 5.8 percentage points.

By the Numbers: SMEs on the TFW

63% – Agree it’s difficult to hire Albertans for lower-skilled positions

33% – Agree TFW takes jobs away from Albertans
58% – Disagree TFW takes jobs away from Albertans

40% – Agree SMEs use TFW to hire lower-cost labour
40% – Disagree SMEs use TFW to hire lower-cost labour

38% – Agree with changes to TFW
45% – Disagree with changes to TFW

48% – Agree changes will be effective in stopping perceived abuse of TFW
34% – Disagree changes will be effective in stopping perceived abuse of TFW

 

Source: ATB Financial

For further information, please contact:

Barry Strader
Corporate Reporter, ATB Financial
Cell: (780) 886-4398; Office: (780) 495-1343
Email: bstrader@atb.com

 

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