Kenney teams up with CFIB to perpetuate labour shortage myth

Minister should be ashamed of Twitter tag-team to peddle TFW expansion and other bad policies

Edmonton – A Twitter forum organized by the Harper government and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is nothing more than a cheap gimmick aimed at justifying low-wage policies like the expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker program, says the Alberta Federation of Labour.

Today at noon, Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney joined CFIB president Dan Kelly on the social networking site Twitter to answer questions about the Canada Jobs Grant program and “ongoing labour market pressures,” despite Statistics Canada reporting that there are 6.4 unemployed Canadians for every vacant job.

“The CFIB says that there’s a labour shortage – but they always say there’s a labour shortage,” says Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan.

“The low-wage employers that the CFIB represents are using this myth about labour shortages to justify bad public policy, like the expansion of Temporary Foreign Worker program. But experts at the U of A, the U of C, CIBC, and the federal government’s own researchers say the CFIB is wrong.”

In May, the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy published a report stating that Canada had all the workers that we need.

That opinion was echoed by the University of Alberta’s Institute for Public Economics in June, when they wrote that problems in Alberta have more to do with training and productivity than labour shortages.

In 2011, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada projects that there will be no major labour market imbalances over the next ten years.

“We’ve crunched the numbers as well, and it’s clear there is no general labour shortage in Alberta,” McGowan said. “Despite all of the CFIB’s whining, if there is a shortage of anything, it’s a shortage of people willing to work for the crappy wages that employers in the service sector are offering.”

“This Twitter conversation is not a conversation at all. It’s a gimmick designed to spread falsehoods,” concluded McGowan.

“The Minister should be ashamed of himself for spreading misinformation about Canadian labour markets. And he should be ashamed of using the power of government to help low-wage employers keep wages low when economic conditions suggest they should be going up. The Minister has clearly forgotten that he works for Canadians, not the CFIB.”



Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell)
or via e-mail