Pinoys feel impact of TFW moratorium in Canada

By Marjorie Carmona Newman, ABS-CBN Canada

Posted at May 14 2014 08:15 AM | Updated as of May 14 2014 07:34 PM

EDMONTON – Filipino workers and support groups are now calling on the federal government to reconsider its position on the moratorium on the temporary foreign worker program.

Fastfood service worker Dexter Datoc is about to go out of status. His application for a renewal of his Labor Market Opinion is up in the air after the federal government's moratorium on the issuance of LMO's for the temporary foreign worker program.

With a deadline fast approaching this month, Datoc knows he has no choice but to head back home after more than 2 years as a TFW in Canada.

"Naiinis. Sayang kasi opportunity. Paano yung sa Pilipinas? Anong mangyayari? Balik sa wala, sayang nandito na. Gumagawa pa rin ng paraan kaso parang wala talaga. Ang pinaka-option bumalik talaga ng Pilipinas," Datoc said.

Datoc is not alone. A growing number of Pinoy workers are worried about their status in Canada after the moratorium.

What's worse, the suspension of LMO's for the hiring of TFWs is not limited to the food service industry alone as it affects janitors, cleaners, grocery clerks and more.

Even some employers are now worried on the impact of the moratorium on their business.

"It has a huge impact. Some of them might close down or probably file for bankruptcy as they can't provide the services demanded by the industry. We tried to hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents here. The turnover is very fast the demand of the services really needs the temporary foreign workers," said Bayani Alcantara, employer, owner of Panciteria de Manila.

Migrante Alberta said there is reason to worry about the impact of the moratorium in the temporary foreign worker program.

"It puts them in a difficult situation. Their status is in jeopardy. If this moratorium extends, we expect a mass deportation and we're gonna create an army of undocumented workers in Canada," said Marco Luciano of Migrante Alberta.

Migrante Alberta recently joined other labor organizations including the Alberta Federation Labor Union who initiated the campaign against the TFW program in celebrating the International Workers Day at the legislative grounds in Edmonton.

"The moratorium that was announced by Jason Kenney for the food service sector with the use of the temporary foreign worker program is welcome but certainly not the only sector that has been using and abusing the program," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation Labor Union.

"We in the labor movement are calling the federal government to stop the entire low service/low stream including the manufacturing and agriculture".

The groups are calling for change. One of the solutions they proposed is to make temporary foreign workers permanent residents and allow them to acquire citizenship in the country.