Companies will not be able to hire temporary foreign workers for 29 high wage occupations in Alberta as part of a new program introduced on Wednesday. The Employer Liaison Service will be a pilot program over the next two years designed to connect companies with local workers.
“This project will help make life better for hardworking Albertans. The Employer Liaison Service will help Alberta workers find new opportunities with employers across the province who are looking to fill highly-skilled positions. We have an exceptional pool of talented, well-trained and motivated workers in Alberta and our government is working with the Government of Canada to ensure they’re first in line for available jobs,” said the Honourable Christina Gray, Minister of Labour.
The 29 jobs have been placed on the refusal to process list as part of Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The occupations include jobs in trades; transport and equipment operators; natural and applied sciences; and manufacturing and utilities.
Dave King, the Dean for the School of Trades and Technology at Lakeland College believes this program is a good step to reduce unemployment in Alberta.
“It’s agriculture or oilfield in this region and a lot of our workers are laid off right now and can’t get a job again so for this temporary refusal to process for the temporary foreign worker program, it gives our people a chance to get back into the employment field.”
As of March, 2017 the unemployment rate was 8.4% in Alberta. King believes it will take some time before things improve.
“We all see the upturn a little bit with the economy, in our region, with trucks moving again and you see things happening but with the amount of people that were laid off in the last couple of years, it’s going to take a while for that group of people to get employed again.”
King adds that he is optimistic.
“It’s going to take a while to recover but I think we’re going to do it again. It just may be more of a level field.”
The program is designed to compliment the federal budgets proposed one time pay out of $30 million to the Government of Alberta for programs to help stimulate economic activity in Alberta’s resource sector.