A roundtable discussion regarding recent changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program did not produce immediately solutions, but the dialogue did bring concerns from stakeholders to the forefront.
Rimbey Mayor Rick Pankiw who attended the discussion held in Rocky Mountain House last Thursday said he found the information valuable.
“It’s the second one I have attended and they were both beneficial.”
Pankiw said he is convinced the federal government needs to regionalize the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
“Alberta needs to stand alone as it is home to the majority of foreign workers, although those workers make up less than one per cent of the work force.
“We need to look at the big picture,” he said.
The roundtable was hosted by MP Blaine Calkins and attended by elected officials, local chambers of commerce and small and medium business owners in Central Alberta representing several industries in the area.
“What is clear,” said Calkins, “is that the labour and wage pressures in Alberta are not temporary problems. We simply cannot continue to look at temporary solutions to fix these problems. Every successful business understands the dynamics of supply and demand. It doesn’t work if there is no supply and that is the problem that businesses in Central Alberta face every day.”
According to Statistics Canada job vacancies are highest in Alberta and the accommodation and food services sector have the highest job vacancy rate in the country.