Foreign workers: Rules must be enforced for the new Tory plan to work

After more than a year of scandal and outrage over abuses of the temporary foreign workers’ program, the Tories have changed the rules to better protect Canadians and the foreign workers themselves.

Among the changes: Employers can no longer hire low-wage temporary foreign workers in regions where unemployment is above six per cent, a 10-per-cent cap on the number of TFW s on any one work site, more government inspections of employers and fines of up to $100,000 for bosses caught abusing the program.

It may have been a calculated preelection-year move to appeal to middleof-the-road voters, but we know as well that the changes haven’t been popular with the Conservatives’ pro-business base. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business president put out a message on social media Friday calling the changes the “single worst decision this (government) has made and a major knock to their small biz credentials.”

The argument has been that temporary foreign workers are the only people willing to take jobs in restaurants and hotels, regardless of what wages they offer.

We don’t buy that. We also don’t begrudge any person in the developing world who wants to come here, work hard and support those with even less. But there is a problem when we have Canadians who are being bumped out of the line.

We hope the government will follow through with enforcement of the new rules, without which the changes will be meaningless.

If it does, kudos to the Tories. They will have listened and responded on an issue that’s important to many Canadians.