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Foreign worker program leads to Canadian unemployment, report says

Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program increased the nation's rate of unemployment in certain circumstances, a report said.

By Ed Adamczyk

OTTAWA, April 24 (UPI) -- A Canadian government program for hiring temporary foreign workers increases the unemployment rate in some areas and economic sectors, a report said Thursday.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program grew from 101,000 people in 2002 to 338,000 people across Canada by 2012, and was promoted as a method of filling job openings that could not be filled by Canadian workers. The program was criticized after it was revealed some companies were accused of abusing it to hire cheaper foreign workers.

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The report by non-partisan think tank C.D. Howe noted the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia -- each with a high percentage of foreign workers -- saw unemployment rates stay high after 2007, when the rest of Canada saw declining unemployment rates.

The program “potentially accelerated the rise in unemployment by about 3.9 percentage points in the two provinces between 2007 and 2010,” the report says.

Despite the findings, the report recommended the program be retained, with changes implemented to discourage abuse.

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