An audit shows that the Canadian government is using the temporary foreign worker program to drive down wages, the Alberta Federation of Labour said Monday.

The AFL compared wages paid to workers under the TFW program to regional wages calculated by Statistics Canada.

Of the 15,006 TFW approvals obtained by the AFL through access to information requests, more than 14,500 were permitted to pay workers less than the prevailing wage.

“Anywhere from a few cents per hour to $11.45 per hour,” AFL president Gil McGowan said.

“Most Canadians would agree that the federal government should not be in the business of  helping employers keep wages low.”

McGowan says the practice depresses the wages of everyone in a job market.