In response to the government’s announcement on changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which includes a number of new restrictions on temporary foreign workers, David Goldstein, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, has released the following statement:
“The Travel and Tourism sector is one of Canada’s leading job creators and the largest employer of youth. Of the 618,000 people employed in tourism, one third are under 25 years old. Tourism jobs range from well-paying management positions to crucial first time job experience for youth. More than any other sector, the regional and seasonal nature of the travel business requires foreign workers to fill short-term labour shortages when Canadians and permanent residents are not available or willing.”
He continued, “We understand the need for the government to address the unsavoury practices of a few employers and the desire to create a path to employment for Canadians. While misuses of the program must be addressed, tourism operators, particularly in the labour-intensive accommodations, food and beverage and attractions sub-sectors must have access to an adequate labour supply in order to compete globally. The labour shortages in the sector are projected to get worse and cost Canadian businesses billions of dollars in lost revenue. While the sector has long since acknowledged that it is not the perfect solution, the Temporary Foreign Workers Program is one of the few tools our employers have at their disposal.
“However, tourism alone does not have a specialized temporary foreign worker program. We are committed to working with the government and our industry partners to create a specialized program for temporary foreign workers in tourism jobs similar to the Agricultural Stream.”