Thunder Bay

Red Lake depends on foreign workers, mayor says

The Mayor of Red Lake calls the Temporary Foreign Worker program a necessity for his community.

Phil Vinet says 'rogue employers' to blame in foreign worker scandal

Business owners in Red Lake say they rely on foreign workers to keep their operations running. (CBC)

The Mayor of Red Lake calls the Temporary Foreign Worker program a necessity for his community.

Phil Vinet said some businesses in Red Lake depend on foreign workers to keep their doors open. The federal government should crack down on bad employers, he noted, and not punish employees.

Vinet said the workers are needed due to what he calls “disparity” in the community's labour market.

Red Lake Mayor Phil Vinet says hopes the federal government keeps the Temporary Foreign Worker program running. (Supplied)

"Chase down the rogue employers. This isn't rocket science,” he said.

"You'll find that Red Lake has always been a real welcoming pot for people from other countries to come and live and enjoy. In fact, a tremendous amount of current Red Lake residents are people who are immigrated to Canada."

Basic services — such as a grocery store and a coffee shop — would be affected if the foreign worker program were halted,” he said.

"We're a primary resource town so there's a lot of high paying wages. So the labour pool is limited so what is left over is very limited labour left for the service industry. If there is any suggestion that the doors may shutter or even reduce hours and lessen the service for Red Lakers, that just flies in the face of what the program was intended for."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?