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January 31, 2018

Construction union claims employers misusing a federal employment program to hire cheap labour

A construction workers’ union has released a report arguing employers are bringing in cheap foreign labour for construction projects in British Columbia by misusing a program meant for other specialized workers.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America, which represents 100,000 construction workers in Canada, used government data to determine 2,500 construction jobs in B.C. were filled by foreign workers given permits via the International Mobility Program in 2015 and 2016.

Mark Olsen, Western Canada manager of LIUNA, said the paper highlights the program’s use for construction.

“While the federal government has told us the IMP is really not for construction workers… the stats clearly show that companies are using the IMP with no process at all bringing in hundreds of construction workers,” Olsen said.

LIUNA used data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to track which fields employees with work permits granted through the IMP program and its cousin the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are working in.

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