Fast-food chains and convenience stores are facing a serious labour shortages, not trying to keep costs down by bringing in foreign workers, says a spokesman for Alberta businesses.

Documents reveal that more than half of the temporary foreign workers hired through a new fast-track process to bring in highly-skilled workers ended up working at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores, according to the Alberta Federation of Labour.

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But Richard Truscott, the Alberta spokesman for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said Wednesday that employers look locally first.

"We need to re-evaluate what the situation is on the ground in Alberta. Our province is facing some serious labour shortages," said Truscott.

"Of course, small employers look to Canadians and Albertans first," he said. "No employer in their right mind would go to all the cost and hassle of bringing in someone from another country if there is someone in the local market that is willing, able and qualified to work in those jobs."

A document obtained through an access-to-information request shows restaurants, stores and gas stations across the country were granted more than 2,400 guest worker permits under the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process between April 25 and Dec. 18, 2012.

More than half of all workers, 54 per cent, who were hired during the period ended up in Alberta.