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A Parliamentary Budget Office report claims that a rise in the temporary foreign worker program is due to the increasing skills of the Canadian labor force. We’ll bite.

It is indeed true that more Canadians are educated than ever before, and perhaps low-skill jobs (like barista, retail, etc.) would not be their first choice. HOWEVER. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the desirability of employers to pay more than minimum wage for their highly-skilled workers:

The main consequence of this shrinking of the lower-skilled labour force is that it is potentially harder for employers, at current wages, to find ‘suitable’ candidates, namely candidates whose skill level matches that of the position for which they apply

Sorry, kids: now that you have that BA, you’re overqualified!

According to the report, it is unlikely that offering a higher wage would help solve this “skills gap”, despite a well-documented job scarcity among Canadian youth. Why? Well, mainly because previous studies have shown that a “skills mismatch” leads to “dissatisfaction” in the workplace. In other words, once he’s honed his mind on Kant, Timmy can’t just mow lawns anymore.

This is absurd.

Let’s explain why in bullet points, since that seems to be the norm for government reports:

  • desperate times call for desperate measures. Timmy might be unhappy at work, but he’ll keep at it if it pays the bills.
    • (Unfortunately, minimum wage doesn’t pay the bills)
    • (Higher wages would help with that)
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that many students obtain their postsecondary education in order to get a job. Perhaps the sector matters less than the employment?
    • (for example, it’s hard to imagine that a student going to school to become a kindergarten teacher would turn down work in childcare…)
    • (… again assuming that wages were higher)
  • Since “job hopping” is now increasingly common, due to the prevalence of short-term contracts, can a minimum-wage outlet really expect loyalty from its employees?
    • (In other words, TFWs are practically slave labor, as they are paid less then the market will bear to do jobs that will keep them from being deported)

News flash to Parliament: Canadians don’t like the TFW program. They think it steals jobs from their children. They are uncomfortable with the ‘new’ (2012) guidelines that exploit vulnerable immigrants.

They are probably right.

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