Pinoys in Edmonton affected by TFW issue

By Marjorie Carmona Newman, ABS-CBN Canada

Posted at Apr 30 2014 08:01 AM | Updated as of Apr 30 2014 04:01 PM

CANADA– The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) is again in the headlines after criticisms some employers allegedly abused the program, leaving many Canadians out of work.

The latest controversy erupted when three McDonald's locations in Victoria, British Columbia had its Labour Market Opinion or LMOs suspended by Service Canada due to non-compliance of terms and conditions in the approved LMO.

The LMO is a requirement to be able to hire foreign workers in the country.

Filipinos here said the issue has affected temporary workers even all the way in Alberta.

"Syempre, yung mga foreign workers ay nababahala dahil sa bagong batas ng gobyerno dito sa Canada. For example sa aming company gusto pa kaming i-hire ng aming company pero hindi na sila mabibigyan pa ng LMO para ma extend yung contract namin dito sa Canada," said TFW Rogene Roy Guerrero.

The 2012 statistics from Employment and Social Development Canada shows more than 84,000 LMOs were issued in Alberta alone, with the Philippines as the top source of temporary foreign workers.

However, the Philippine Business Society of Edmonton said the ongoing investigation of the McDonald's franchise in Victoria shouldn't discourage employers from continuing to hire foreign workers.

"It won't discourage me but it will be a learning curve for me as well. In my own company I want to help people back home. At the end of the day, if conditions persist that I will not be able to hire one, then that's what I'm gonna do," said Celso Andrade, president of the Philippine Business Society of Edmonton.

Andrade said there have been some abuses in the TFW program. Companies hiring temporary foreign workers should follow rules to avoid suspension or cancellation of their LMOs.

"They abuse their workers and most of them have been abused. Why did they cancel it? Ang nangyayari diyan they are not paying the overtime, not giving the hours. Its abuse of the workers," said Andrade.

Pinoy temporary workers meantime hope that with all the attention on issues surrounding the TFW program, the needs of foreign workers like them are also given weight together with those of Canadian employees.

"We are saddened about the issues of the temporary foreign worker program kasi sana dapat maging patas yong Canadian government sa pag treat ng mga employees here in Canada," said TFW Rechiel Aguillon.

Consultations are being conducted by the Canadian government with employers, employer associations, educational institutions, labor organizations regarding the TFW program.