Merit Contractors Association

Merit Contractors Association

June 20, 2014 17:50 ET

Construction Industry Responds to Changes in the Federal Temporary Foreign Worker Programs

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - June 20, 2014) - The Vice President of Canada's largest open shop construction organization, Merit Contractors Association, expressed disappointment with the magnitude of the changes to the federal government's Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), but agrees with the increased accountability to ensure compliance and value for taxpayer's dollars and the Government's desire to get more regional labour market and wage data. The comments follow today's national release of the federal government's comprehensive overhaul of the TFWP.

In Alberta, there is a limited pool of unemployed construction workers and certain trades are experiencing significant shortages. Recent data from the Alberta Occupational Demand and Supply Outlook predicts a shortfall of 96,000 construction workers by 2023.

Line Porfon, Merit's Vice President Government Relations, stated, "In order to continue to build our province and sustain our future, employers must have the tools to address the demand for skilled workers. The massive changes to the TFWP will make it that much harder to bring in qualified workers to a province with very low unemployment in the construction industry," she continues. "It is unfortunate that a small number of employers who have abused the system have caused additional work, time and money for the majority of employers who have followed the rules."

Merit Contractors Association members are at the forefront of recruiting and training Albertans to meet Alberta's demand for skilled construction workers. The additional fees and processes will be a burden to construction employers who are already committing significant dollars to train their workforce, and as a group, contractors contribute significantly to economic prosperity across the country.

"The increase in accountability is important to ensure that the public is confident that the TFWP is working properly and to dispel misperceptions about rampant abuse," says Porfon. "The construction industry in Alberta has worked diligently with the federal government towards increasing worker capacity, and it is unfortunate that the changes are so broad."

Merit Contractors Association is a province-wide, not-for-profit association comprised of over 1,300 contractor member firms that employ over 45,000 people in commercial, institutional and industrial construction sectors. The Association was formed in 1986 to serve the needs of the open shop construction industry. Visit www.meritalberta.com.

Contact Information

  • Merit Contractors Association
    Stephen Kushner, President/ Line Porfon Vice-President
    (Edmonton)
    (780) 455-5999

    Merit Contractors Association
    Peter Pilarski, Vice-President, Southern Alberta
    (Calgary)
    (403) 291-9247
    www.meritalberta.com