Evan Solomon asks why restaurants don’t just raise wages to attract workers: “This is the criticism — raise the wages and they will come.”
Garth Whyte of Restaurants Canada: “So let’s raise it to $100 an hour — we’ll still need them [temporary foreign workers]. That’s the issue, we have, uh, you know, people, we’re, this is well above the average wage, we’re putting it well above . . .” [h/t Press Progress for above vid]
Ok, let’s look at that. This is Slide #20 in a 2012 powerpoint presentation given by Ron Reaman, VP, Ontario, of Restaurants Canada, formerly known as CRFA [Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association], bragging about their lobbying success in freezing the minimum wage in 2011 :
And here’s slide #21 – a survey of Restaurants Canada’s members:
Q: What factors, if any, are currently having a negative impact on your business?
Notable that while 67% of them answered “Rising labour costs,” slightly less than a third complain about “Shortage of skilled labour” and only 14% say “Shortage of unskilled labour”.
Both slides rather put the boots to Garth Whyte’s plaint at top that importing temporary foreign workers is not about wages, and by extension, keeping them down for everyone else.
Back in November 2007, Mr Reaman and Joyce Reynolds of CRFA appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to complain about labour shortages. Ms Reynolds suggested “a bridge from temporary to permanent residency” for temporary foreign workers and that they be allowed to apply for it from within the country.
She then thanked the Conservative government through the Chair for streamlining the LMO process and raising the number of years TFWs could remain in the country from one to two years. She asked that it be increased once more to four years. And lo — in 2011, it was.