Lodging Staff

Temporary foreign worker overhaul will mean lodging labour shortages – HAC

OTTAWA — The overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will effectively lead to an increase in the already existing structural labour gap that is plaguing the Canadian lodging industry, says the Hotel Association of Canada.

“While the Hotel Association of Canada welcomes the lifting of the moratorium and greater program accountability the rest of the news is exceedingly discouraging,” said Tony Pollard, President HAC. “For the lodging industry, whose business model is based on low margins, these program changes will have dramatic, immediate and negative effects. We are disappointed that the program has been altered in this way when it is critical to the lodging industry’s operations and to Canadian tourism as a whole.”

Employers in areas with unemployment exceeding 6% will no longer be able to apply for temporary foreign workers in the accommodation, food service and retail sectors. The HAC believes that linking unemployment rates to the program is not the solution to addressing our structural labour gap.

Placing a 10% cap on the number of temporary foreign workers an employer can hire limits the industry’s ability to successfully operate as a business in many areas of Canada.

Requiring employers to re-apply every year for temporary foreign workers instead of every two years and increasing the fee to apply from $275 to $1,100 adds unnecessary burden on operations and a severe cost to properties leading to a reduction of service, limited hours of operation and in fact closures.

“This government initiative does not support the hotel industry but in fact will drive business away,” said Pollard.