Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Guest Post: And there will be jobs

This was submitted to me by a reliable source within the oil industry.

I work for one of the many oil and gas companies in Alberta and lately there have been a lot of rumors going around that we would be seeing upwards of 300 temporary foreign workers (TFWs). In the last few days these rumors have been confirmed.

Today everyone was swiftly sent off to "diversity training". "Diversity training" is corporate lingo for saying "here's the situation, don't be a dick about it." I didn't get much out of the experience which I was more or less expecting, until we got to the portion of the numbers.

It's not my job to make fact sheets, data tables, or projections but the numbers I heard at this meeting blew my mind. According to the statistics provided at this meeting, in 2012 there were not enough Canadian trades workers to fill 18,000 jobs. The projections went on to say that by 2021 the number was expected to grow to 250,000 and that at this time 100% of the new job market will be filled by TFWs; my skin crawled.

The good news (as far as I will know anyway) is that the TFWs, as per strict legislation, will be paid on the same scale as Canadian workers and we were assured that should the projects go bust that the TFWs would be the first to see pink slips regardless of their term contract.

I'd like to make my position clear: I have no issues with immigrants, I do however have issues with TFWs in this scenario as I do not for one second believe that 18,000 trades jobs could not be filled. I would be hard pressed to believe that there were any recruitment campaigns being held on the East Coast of Canada, where many trades workers have a difficult time finding work. Somehow it is easier to find workers abroad?

Canada, if you thought Keystone would deliver jobs then you were correct. Unfortunately, they just weren't intended for you.

- A Canadian Oilsands Worker

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for CenturyLink

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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