McDonald’s Canada freezes use of Foreign Worker Plan


Ottawa: Canada will not allow restaurants to hire any more temporary foreign workers until the federal government completes a review of a program set up as a last resort for employers to fill jobs when no qualified Canadians are available.
The moratorium, which only affects food-service businesses, follows a decision by the Canadian unit of McDonald’s Corp earlier this week to suspend all of its applications under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
The federal government took the action, announced in a statement late Thursday, after starting an investigation into alleged abuses of the program within the food-service industry.
Jason Kenney, the minister for employment and social development, said officials had placed a moratorium on processing new applications from food-service businesses, and it would stop restaurants from hiring workers for unfilled jobs when applications were already approved.
Kenny said the government was considering unspecified reforms of the program to make sure employers recruit and train Canadians for jobs.
“Our government has been clear,” he said in the statement. “Canadians must have the first chance at available jobs.”
The moratorium has no effect on a temporary foreign worker program for the agricultural industry. The government said there were “proven acute labor shortages” in that industry, and unfilled farm jobs were short-term “by definition.”

Vancouver: The Canadian unit of McDonald’s Corp has suspended all of its applications under the country’s temporary foreign worker program as its undergoes a third-party audit on its use, the restaurant chain said on Wednesday. The move comes after the fast-food giant was criticized in media reports in recent weeks about its use of the Canadian government plan, which allows companies to bring in foreign workers when there are no local residents available. The CBC reported this month that a franchise owner in Victoria, British Columbia, was violating the terms of Foreign Worker Visa program.