Temporary foreign workers in Saskatchewan’s economy

RankandFile.ca co-editor, Andrew Stevens, recently published a report with the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives (CCPA) on the growth of temporary foreign workers in Saskatchewan. Since 2005, the number of foreign workers in the province has increased over 600%, from around 1,300 to almost 10,000 in 2012. newsrelease_130418_saskatchewanThere are now an estimated 11,000 to 12,000 TFW currently employed in the prairie province of just over 1 million. Accommodation and food services, followed by construction, are the major employers of foreign workers.

In less than a decade, the number of TFWs working in the economy’s lowest paying industry, food services, expanded from several dozen in 2005 to nearly 2,300 in 2012. Despite claims by Jeremy Harrison, minister responsible for immigration in Saskatchewan, that there have been large wage increases in the service sector, particular food services and accommodations, the CCPA report highlights that since 2010, compensation has virtually stagnated just as the number of TFWs has increased. There is also evidence that foreign workers account for most of the employment growth in these industries over the last four years.

The report concludes by citing a RankandFile.ca interview with Pablo Godoy, and argues that future policy changes “will require both organized labour and government to include foreign workers themselves in the conversation about the future of the Program in Canada’s economy”.

Check out the CCPA website to download the report.

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