The owner of a restaurant in Prince Albert says when he needs to hire a reliable worker for a lower paying job, the temporary foreign workers program has been a great resource.
Robert Dunn owns the local Humpty’s and he says he has hired temporary foreign workers in the past and would like to hire more.
However, he says the federal government is making it more difficult to access the temporary foreign workers program with a $1,000 application fee and other new restrictions.
Dunn is one of several business owners in Prince Albert who use the program and says it fills a void in the market.
“I’m not going to sugar coat it,” he says. “It is not that we can’t find people. You can’t find people that are reliable you know. They will come to work when it is convenient for them, not the other way around and that is one of the biggest issues.
Dunn has 22 workers on staff and only two are temporary foreign workers.
Although he has had more workers from the program in the past, some of who have became permanent residents and still work for him.
Another Prince Albert business owner expresses a similar view.
Sarah Culbert is the owner of a Chicken Chef Restaurant which employs four temporary foreign workers - about a third of her staff.
She says she plans to quit using the program because the new application fee is too high.
Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce President Merle Lacert says more needs to be done to hire Aboriginal workers but also sees value in the temporary foreign workers program.
He says without the program some businesses would never have gotten off the ground and is worried about the implications of further restrictions on the program and the impact it will have on Saskatchewan.
“Right now, in Saskatchewan, we have 13,000 temporary foreign workers in the province, by the end of this year or so Saskatchewan is set to lose 12,000 of them leaving 1,000. I guess right now the future of the temporary foreign workers program is more cloud than clarity so we do need to see how the federal government is going to finalize all these structured changes to the program.”
Lacert says the best approach is a diversified one using both the growing Aboriginal workforce and the temporary foreign workers program.