Calgary

Alberta seeks oilpatch workers in U.S.

An Alberta cabinet minister's trip to recruit American workers to the province's oil patch is drawing fire from critics who say unemployed Canadians should be given a chance at those jobs.

An Alberta cabinet minister's trip to recruit American workers to the province's oilpatch is drawing fire from critics who say unemployed Canadians should be given a chance at those jobs.

Immigration and Employment Minister Lukasc has come under fire for recruiting oil patch workers in the United States. CBC
Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, who will be making stops in Illinois and Texas, says the U.S. has health and safety standards similar to Canada's, making it a good place to find people willing to move.

There are shortages of skilled workers in several areas of the energy industry, he said, and more geologists, geochemists and engineers of all kinds needed.

However, the Alberta Federation of Labour says Lukaszuk should be making the same pitch in Canadian provinces where unemployment is high.

"In the Maritimes we have double-digit unemployment," AFL spokeswoman Nancy Furlong said.

"So if he spent some time in Canada and … worked on some plans and some programs to assist Canadians to come from other provinces to work in Alberta I think his time would be better spent."

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