11 November 2008

Ontario desperate for overseas workers in food industry

Food industry leaders in Ontario, Canada have been madly lobbying to the Canadian Immigration Service (CIS) to bring in more overseas workers on work permits, reports the Star.

Justin Taylor, vice-president for labour and taxation at the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), said the efforts towards lobbying have had a positive effect, although more needs to be done to counteract the already massive workers shortage in the industry.

According to the news source, the food industry would require another 181,000 workers by 2015, and the Canadian work permit programme is the best source for this.  The programme has been highly successful in plugging many of the gaps found in Alberta, British Colombia, and Saskatchewan already.

"We need to stop saying all we need is engineers and doctors who've been through the points system screening," said Taylor.  "We don't need doctors working in quick-service restaurants."

"The reality is these are low-skilled jobs," he added.  "Employers are looking for people to chop onions and take out the garbage."

Joyce Reynolds, CRFA executive vice-president, said the CRFA presented the issue to the Canadian government two years ago, with the advice of increasing the number of temporary workers in Canada, improving training to keep trained temporary workers in Canada and developing an immigration policy that encourages Canadian immigration.

"All industries will suffer from this labour shortage, but the outlook for the food service industry is particularly grim," Ms Reynolds said.

"More than 483,000 of our employees are 15 to 24 years of age. Projections suggest that by the year 2025 the population of 15- to 24-year-olds in Canada will actually decline by 345,500."

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for Canada visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, Canadian Visa Bureau.

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