April 10, 2006 08:00 ET


Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 10, 2006) - The Universal Workers Union, Local 183, and its management partners have rallied together to impress upon the federal government the impending crisis related to skilled trades in Ontario and the unavoidable fact that undocumented construction workers are currently playing a key role in our future. It is most disappointing to witness the deportation of foreign workers when their skills are needed here in Canada at a time when forecasts for skilled trades and other workers point to serious shortages in Ontario and other provinces.

On Tuesday, April 11, 2006 at 10:30 a.m. an announcement will be made on what initiatives are planned and to shed more light on this important societal and economic issue. The press announcement will be held at Local 183's offices at 1263 Wilson Ave. in Toronto.

Making the announcement will be Tony Dionisio, Business Manager of Local 183 and Richard Lyall, President of RESCON, an association representing residential builders in Ontario. Other community representatives will also be in attendance.

Dionisio states that "Local 183 and its management partners are calling for a moratorium on deportations so that a pilot project can be put in place until such time that an effective immigration strategy has been developed." This would provide an opportunity for undocumented workers to be registered with the ultimate objective of their becoming landed immigrants. It would also allow time for the Province to consider and plan for addressing the Province's skilled labour requirements.

Forecasts of shortages due to increasing baby boom retirements, a Western Canadian building boom and a school system that does not provide opportunities for young Canadians to pursue skilled trades careers, all point to a rapidly approaching crisis which could stymie economic development.

Lyall adds that "rather than addressing this problem as is happening in other developed countries, in the absence of a plan Canada seems to be intent on deporting many people who are needed and currently making valuable contributions. Why deport them now if we will only have to turn around and try and recruit them back? It is simply wrongheaded."

The fact is that current Canadian labour shortages in construction and other fields are not being met by Canadian citizens. Undocumented workers here already are not taking jobs away from Canadians. Aside from the moral and humanitarian issues, further deportations will serve only to drive up construction costs and delay projects in many communities.

Critics who say that this would be unfair as undocumented workers are "queue jumping" perpetuate a myth because these individuals cannot get into the queue in the first place. The current immigration points system is biased against workers who do not have certain academic qualifications and has therefore not been effective in attracting needed immigrants. This bias is contrary to the countries' economic interests and driven by a misguided notion that we are somehow above needing a broad range of working immigrants.

Contact Information

  • Andy Manahan, Development Promotion Representative
    Primary Phone: 416-243-6511
    Toll-Free: 877-834-1183
    E-mail: amanahan@local183.ca