Local foreign workers threatened by expired permits

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By Christine Rumleskie



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Many local foreign workers might be forced to return home, following the rejection of their permits to work in Fort St. John.

The City’s hospitality industry has taken part in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, spearheaded by the federal government. The program allows employers to recruit foreign workers for their businesses, when they can’t fill jobs with locals.

Each foreign employee gets a Labour Market Opinion permit. But, the permits are set to expire this year, and Service Canada says most extensions or renewals will not be granted.

However, companies are allowed to apply for a new LMO.

Centre Dining is a locally-owned Asian-restaurant that currently employs two foreign workers. Spokesperson Sonny Murray says the company’s application has been rejected three times now, with Service Canada stating that there is a labour shortage nation-wide.

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In January, BC Stats reported that the Northeast jobless rate remained the lowest in the province, at 4.6%.

But, Peace River-Prince George MP Jay Hill says the Federal Government is making sure unemployed Canadians have access to the job market, and that the program was meant to be temporary.

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Murray, however, says Centre Dining qualified in June for new foreign workers, so he doesn’t know what changed since then.

He says if Centre Dining cannot find employees, it will likely be closed within a year or two.

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Hill encourages any businesses that have concerns with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, to contact his constituency office at 9031-100th Avenue.


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