The Telegraphed Gazette; 4/5th of May 2013
Greetings folks and welcome to another edition of the Telegraphed Gazette; my name is Vince, bringing you the latest round-up of news from Quebec, the games industry, and other national stories here in Canada. Apologies for not publishing last week, I had to pack for a trip into the province of Alberta and as such I was unable to write the gazette. Now that I am back however it is time to “try” to get back on track. Now without further delay onto the news you care about: temporary foreign workers face a changing Canadian landscape, and teaching is no longer a desired profession according to a symposium.
Published in a news article in May the 2nd from the Montreal Gazette, the situation in Canada regarding temporary foreign workers is changing as we speak. According to the article, these workers not only face a changing bureaucracy which intends on adding in new safeguards to ensure these workers get a fair rate, but also make it so that companies will have to really try hard to find Canadian workers first before resorting to foreign workers. Now the article details some very interesting points in that the jobs taken by temporary foreign workers or TFW for short are jobs Canadians will not do. These jobs include mopping, working at a fast food diner, picking vegetables in a farm, working retail at minimum wage, and the list roughly goes on there. Now the article has explained that the critics of this new piece of legislation have stated that there is still room for abuse, and that the TFWs need more protection if they are to be treated fairly by employers. Yet the article does emphasize the fact that the jobs taken by TFWs are jobs Canadians will not do; most likely because the pay rate is less than ideal for most Canadians looking for employment. Now this runs into an interesting dilemma in that we here in Canada wish to have our citizens considered first by employers – and in some cases this clause is just, example being the coal mines up in northern BC where a Chinese company placed on their requirements that a worker speak Mandarin – however think about all those minimum wage jobs people do just for the cash, and place no dedication towards it. When people tout: “oh these foreigners are taking our jobs and we have no work,” here is a thought, “what jobs are they taking?” The rule governing this aspect – and it will not change – is that these foreigner workers are bound to their employer under a stated contract, and are not allowed to change jobs should they find conditions unfavorable: in that instance they have to leave. The foreign worker that comes in and takes up a job as a vegetable picker, cannot leave that job and take up a post in let’s say, the Canadian Forces, or Stats Canada, or even RBC – no pun intended.
When people look at foreign workers they often think they are taking all the good jobs such as Information Technology Specialist, or insurance sales person, or even a government job. Yet do these same persons stop to think: “hang on, would I be willing to scrub floors for 10.50 an hour? Would I flip burgers for minimum wage when I have a family of 3 to tend to? Will I ever enjoy – and dedicate my life to – working in a senior care home?” However there is the other side of it, in that the businesses – big and small – hire based on economy. The article highlights a key point in that: “Workers in Quebec don’t want to work for minimum wage – which went up to $10.15 on Wednesday – and they don’t want to put their “heard and soul” into their work, Plante continued. “They won’t mop floors, they won’t do dishes. I got CVs and people came in – but for what I was asking they wanted $20 an hour. This isn’t the Ritz-Carlton – it’s Chez Cora! It’s cooking bacon and eggs!”
If these people really want the position, they need to be realistic with themselves; the job is minimum wage because the labour involved in not rocket science, nor is it entirely in demand and the world will not die if people do not cook bacon and eggs. There is an element of understanding when it comes to standard of living in that people want to improve, but are they willing to drop that standard – either temporarily or for a while – in order to make ends meet? All of us Canadians have standards, and we are taught to never lower those standards but rather work hard to achieve them; so why are you then so worried about losing a 10 dollar an hour job that you never wanted to do in the first place? Some people are homeless because of their complete disinterest to suffer a little in order to overcome their situation; they wallow in self-pity, or are suffering from an addiction as well. Yet when they go to the Safe Injection Site in Vancouver – to use that as an example – rather than having to attend counseling sessions by law, they can choose to either do it, or continue with their lifestyle. Right okay, we have plenty of qualified workers, what a load of bollocks. The Canadian worker generally wants to improve his or her life financially; therefore these workers enter to fill labour shortages where Canadians simply do not want to fill.
Think of this, mining pays 40 dollars an hour, oil extraction pays 50 dollars an hour with room and board, free food, and free transportation; government work pays a decent 50 to 60 thousand dollars annually. Now let us look at minimum wage, it pays – going on BC’s numbers – 19,200.00 per year. Factor in housing, food, gas if they own a car for work, and you really do not have much left to spend on Ipads, new TVs, that nice dinner for your wife or husband, and the list goes on. Really now, Canadians are not piling over one another to earn 19k per year, so why the frustration? 19 thousand dollars per year is chump change for a nurse, likewise a miner, hell even a trucker earns a lot more; even a bus driver earns 35 an hour with Translink out here in BC! These are temporary foreign workers earning minimum wage with no benefits package and crap all in regards to living subsidies!
If a Canadian wants the job, they are a student and need income to pay for tuition, or they are a family who has to take whatever is available to them in order to survive, in which priority should be given to them. However that Canadian will have to know the reality; the small business that hired them cannot afford to give them 45 dollars an hour, and hire 10 others to do shift work. A big company like Wal-Mart probably should raise the pay for their workers considering how much they earn, but a lot of Canadians work for small businesses, and business may not be all that great. When people cannot afford to eat out, they do not; when Canadians can no longer afford fancy chocolates, they simply do not buy them. Insurance, housing, all that costs money folks; we exchange currency for services because no one on this earth thinks it is worth wile to do something for free, especially if it is hard work like mining. However there are a lot of people in rural communities that can benefit from these jobs, maybe use them instead? It would help ease the situation regarding unemployment in the country, and give other Canadians a chance to get out of their small towns and reserves to see the rest of the country. Perhaps we could throw in employment assistance for them as well? Maybe even an education package? However then the problem repeats itself in that once these rural workers find a more lucrative job, we have a labour shortage again. Then there is the issue of displacement in which people from rural communities may find it hard to adjust to life in the city, and a whole new bottle of bees is opened up that must be dealt with. Ultimately a Canadian-born citizen of any background will adopt the Canadian value of working hard to achieve success, and that success means leaving that minimum wage job behind for something better, so we are left with the same problem again.
Now the flip side to that coin is that while there are jobs Canadians will not do, there are also some jobs in which Canadians want to do, but the employers purposely post lower-than-industry-average wages in an effort to make up numbers which warrants them the ability to hire temporary workers to fill a “labour shortage.” Mining up in northern BC was a prime example; the coal miners union was complaining to the federal government over how a company from China came into BC, and then proceeded to request the government grant them permission to bring in temporary foreign workers. This sparked a huge backlash, and as far as I am aware is still going on. Now unions have come out to express that they are not in support of this temporary foreign worker program, and they are not entirely out of their bounds to make such a statement. Some employers wishing to avoid unions so that they can make bigger bucks usually try to use the system as a means to help themselves avoid paying up to industry standards. They are the ones who purposely post jobs which are lower than average in regards to pay and benefits, which in the mind of a Canadian wishing to improve their standard of life, will turn down. There are definitely two side to the coin as on one hand the system helps to fill jobs in which no one is willing to take, but on the other it is enabling foreign workers to come to Canada – separate from immigration because they are not allowed to bring their families, thus they are truly temporary – to work for companies who wish to avoid paying up to industry standards.
Solving this labour shortage issue is not going to be easy, but there are ways and methods to tackling the issue: some good, others satisfactory, and the rest utterly terrible. Sadly with the government buried in politics and games with each other along party lines, this situation will wind up on the board of procrastination for a few more years before someone gets bored of politics and decides to look at the issue. You can read full article in the link below.
Sticking to the issue of pay and social mobility, teaching has become a precarious profession according to an article from the Montreal Gazette published the 3rd of May. According to the article, is has become harder and harder to find teachers who will not turnover after a few years due to the fact that the level of education compounded with the rate of pay is no longer seen as attractive in the face of police work or bus driving. The article highlights the lack of demographic change amongst teachers in that they are mostly female, white, and from the lower-middle class; alongside the fact that teachers are paid between 36,000 to 74,000 per year, but the average is 54,000. A speaker noted that this pay rate is slightly less than the other two female-dominated professions such as nursing and social work, though figures were not posted. Moving towards male-dominated professions and a teacher’s earning pale in comparison according to the speaker.
Right so this is also an interesting situation; the pay is not enough according to a professional’s standard. The professional demands at least 56,000 per year, and hopes to see their career take them to new heights after a few years on the job. However this story is more along the lines of the individual holding high standards verses the individuals not willing to do the work. The case here is that they want better pay and prestige, something that I spoke about in the earlier article. However here is where my opinion changes; again we see that people have sky-high expectations and cannot lower them to fit reality. They want to see the Jamaica every year, and drink the finest wine from the finest vineyards in the world. This could be an issue related to how much television media they consume and how their perception of reality is when thinking about why these teachers think in such a manner. I think this is an effect of the sort of environment we have bred over the years with consumer media and education in that we push people to drive to become “gods” but we forget to teach them modesty: and this goes the same for CEOs as well. 68,000 dollars annually is pretty good by most standards, so why not learn to budget and then consider luxury goods? Adding more income to the bill will not fix the fact that you are neck-deep in greed, and no matter how much money you have, the greedier you are, the less and less it will feel worth wile. Greed has gotten the better of us this time around: the link to the full article is located in the link below.
Well that was a handful; as you are all aware I have only done two articles this edition mainly because the topics covered were fairly lengthy, and as such more time and space was needed to deliver the analysis and opinion. Overall I hoped the two articles presented are appetizing; it certainly was quite the interesting situation to write on. Though I will admit this; these topics are something I am somewhat comfortable writing on. What I mean by this is labour relations is a touchy subject for most people, and often at times it sparks heated debates in which – well to put it frankly – all forms of civility go out the window fast. Yet I do find all of this interesting because it highlights two key aspects: that we are – at times – quite unrealistic with our expectations, and that we may be too greedy for our own good; all parties. This reminds me of a particular case where university students hold a misguided image in their heads that a glorious new beginning is waiting for them; golden gates gleaming in the sunlight – after graduation. Sadly for many subjects, it is: “take whatever job you can get, and then move up from there,” something I feel my generation has not fully understood, and quickly resorts to conclusions. However my observations are not complete on that topic, but from what I gather thus far, it looks to be the case. Anyways folks I best be off: tune in again on May 18th for another edition of the Telegraphed Gazette. The name has been Vince, and I will see you next time.