Letter: High School students offer opinion on TFW program

We are grade 12 students currently enrolled in Social Studies 30-1 at Morinville Community High School in Morinville, Alberta. Our studies so far have led us to examine basic economic principles and theories. During a class discussion the topic of Temporary Foreign Workers was raised. Most of us have already entered the workforce and some of us have worked alongside TFWs, so we believe that our observations and concerns regarding the TFW program are valid and should be acknowledged.

Every student in the class who has worked with TFWs empathizes with their situation and agrees that the TFWs have a very strong work ethic. There is concern too; that certain employers could take advantage of a labour force that is desperate to earn the money that is being sent “back home” and this makes for workers who will accept whatever conditions to keep their jobs. We strongly believe that TFWs should be paid the same as their Canadian counterparts. If there is such a demand for fast-food workers then why haven’t wages risen to meet the demand? Why, in fact have profits risen with the major franchises while wages have remained stagnant? Do we really need restaurants and stores to be open 24/7? Nowadays graveyard shifts are manned with TFWs because companies “couldn’t hire local”. It’s as if these jobs are created specifically for TFWs.

We students recognize that TFWs fill the “mundane” jobs that some Canadians regard as beneath them. However, as teenagers, we need these entry-level jobs to gain experience. We do not view this as “entitlement”. Priority should be given to Canadian workers because we live here our entire lives and have, and will, continually contribute to society. The money we earn from part-time jobs goes straight back to our local economy. We worry about losing not just these “starter” jobs but also jobs for which we have to earn a university degree or obtain a ticket such as in the trades. Who will speak up for the loss of jobs for middle-class Canadians?

A few of us have already had negative experiences with the TFW program. At [a St. Albert business] one of our classmates had his hours cut back drastically when TFWs were hired. It reached a point when it was no longer feasible to work for a few paltry hours and so he quit. Another student works for a St. Albert restaurant where five TFWs were brought in and he had to train them. Today he is the only Canadian left in the kitchen and one of the TFWs he trained is the kitchen manager while he remains in the same position.

We believe that the TFW program has become a quick fix to hiring cheap labour and that it has not been monitored for abuses. How many Canadians have lost their jobs to TFWs or have had their work outsourced? What will be left for ordinary Canadians? Now we are advised by Stephen Poloz, the Bank of Canada Governor, to make ourselves more marketable when we graduate from post-secondary studies by interning for free. If there is such a labour shortage then why are so many Canadians unable to find work? How much advertising is actually done by companies to hire Canadians before they apply for TFWs or consider shipping the work out of Canada?

Canadian corporations are reaping respectable profits. It is time they invested in the labour force of the country that has enabled them to build their businesses in a stable and democratic environment.

Our studies have now moved on to democratic institutions and citizen participation. We may or may not be anarchists, socialists, conservatives, liberals, or even reactionaries but we are all fiercely loyal to Canada and its democratic institutions. That is why it is so vital that our voices, and the voices of all Canadians, be raised in unison.
Feel free to share your story or comment on the concerns we’ve expressed.


Social Studies 30-1 Class Morinville Community High School Morinville, Alberta

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Great letter and very informative. I hope the two young people in St. Albert who were affected by this program consider informing Service Canada or their MP of what happened, as this is totally unacceptable. Always remember that you are not necessarily pushed out of your job by the TFW, but rather the employer is pushing you out of a job by bringing in TFW when they are not needed. It is the employer’s decision to do this so don’t hesitate to name them publicly and hold them accountable.

  2. Great job!!! I posted your article on my FB page End the TFW Program. I want you to have the best job opportunities also. I know exactly what you are talking about..you are being pushed out of the labour market. I know this because I was once a Tim Hortons manager and I have always felt like a traitor to Canada when I unwillingly slashed my youth staff to accommodate TFW’s. Your voice is the most important ..I hear you

  3. I like your letter…it is so true…I had my hours cut in half when my boss hired two TFW workers… one quit for a better job and the other did also… while retaining weekend work. I made good wages but lost half of that because of the TFW’ers..our government needs to cut this program and give our young Canadians the chance at jobs they used to get with no problem…thank you for your letter.. please send it on to other papers to help get the message out there.

  4. It’s not just the mundane jobs TFW’ S are also here working in trades jobs with little or no skill and unable to speak English. Fort Mac is full of TFW’S

    • I never saw a person other then a whitee or a native in Medicine Hat and few in Fort McMurray prior to ’90….. what happened in the last 25 years?

  5. Just so everyone is aware of this as the information written in a lot of articles pertaining to foreign workers, they DO NOT get paid lower wages so therefore they are not brought in to save a company money, they in fact get paid more than minimum wage at fast food restaurants and they are guaranteed more hours as per the contracts written. I have seen and read there contracts and all of the ones I have seen the kids in town are getting paid 10.25 hr and they are getting 13.00 hr and double the hours. They do get paid overtime as well just like anyone of us. So its not about bringing in cheap labor cause it is not cheap labor. My question is then why bring them here if it costs companies more money other than reliability and they can work them like a dog and take advantage of them cause most of them are too scared to speak up if something happened which in most cases it does.

  6. Great letter. Hope it so is in with our government. I ha e 4 boys growing up and if we dont do something about this tfw racket now, by the time they get on their own there will be nothing for them.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Letter: High School students offer opinion on Temporary Foreign Workers program | AlternativeFreePress.com

Comments are closed.