EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Feb. 6, 2014) - The time has come for Canadian construction workers to express their outrage at the Harper Government's temporary foreign worker program (TFWP), which is being increasingly used by employers to displace Canadians and replace them with vulnerable and exploitable foreign workers, says Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan.
"The construction industry in Northern Alberta generates some of the best jobs in Canada," McGowan said. "But increasingly - instead of being filled by Canadians - those jobs are being given to temporary foreign workers earning as little as half the prevailing wage. Stephen Harper says he won't tolerate abuse of the TFW program but the reality is that employers are simply using the program the way it was designed to be used and that is to undercut Canadians. When it comes to the TFWP, Stephen Harper is the walking, talking definition of hypocrisy."
McGowan's comments came in response to news that 65 Canadian ironworkers, working for a Quebec-based company called Pacer Construction on Imperial Oil's Kearle Lake oil sands project, were laid off on Tuesday, Feb. 4, and replaced by TFWs from Croatia who are being paid only $18 / hour - less than half the prevailing wage earned by Canadians doing the same work.
McGowan will be available for comment in Calgary at 2:15 p.m. at the Air Canada departure level. Reporters interested in talking with the ironworkers who were displaced can contact Ironworkers Local 720 Business Manager Harry Tostowaryk at 780-482-0720.