Malpeque MP Wayne Easter expressed concerns today about proposed changes to Canada's Employment Insurance system, specifically policy on migrant workers.
Easter is concerned the new policy could force people to work in industries they aren't skilled to be in. He said it would result in unhappy workers and employers.
"I think we're seeing a very much the undermining of the social safety net that we have in Canada by the Harper government and this is one of their ways of going about it," Easter said. "You know are we going to look at work camps in this country? Is that where we really want to go?"
David Ganong, chairman of Ganong Brothers Ltd. said his company relies on migrant workers to fill positions locals don't want.
Ganong said if government policy on migrant workers tightens too much it could be "an impediment" to his business.
Right now, 20 per cent of Ganong's staff is foreign workers from Romania.
"We do go to the local market first and we sometimes are fairly aggressive in that recruitment in the local market," Ganong said, but that's still not adequate to fill all open positions in the factory.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in a speech yesterday that local workers should fill local jobs.
"We should not be bringing temporary...workers from around the globe to take the jobs in Canada in communities with chronic high unemployment," Kenney said, singling out Ganong Brothers Ltd. as one of the companies in the province importing foreign workers.
In 2010 there was an average of 34,000 EI claims per month in New Brunswick, partially because of seasonal work in the tourism, forestry and fishing industries.
Kenney says Ottawa plans to change that.
With expanded operations in Ganong’s future, it's likely the company won't change its hiring practices.
Ganong is planning to expand in the next few months, creating about 40 new jobs, and is looking at hiring temporary foreign workers for some of those positions as well.