Tuesday, 19 August 2014

#CETA, temporary workers, and the attack on middle class jobs

Originally published The Independent

On Thursday the German media leaked a substantial portion of the Canada-European Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) text. There were some surprises. In particular, there is a section in the “Cross Border Trading in Services” chapter that makes the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Workers program, which gleaned so much negative publicity a few months back, look like an appetizer.

“This Chapter reflects the preferential trading relationship between the Parties as well as the natural objective to facilitate trade in services and investment by allowing temporary entry and stay to natural persons for business purposes…..” (Article 1.1 Chapter X, CETA leaked document)

Unlike many European countries, the federal government appears to have chosen not to write in reservations or restrictions to this clause. That decision means that, at the federal level, the right to set entry quotas in order to give preference to Canadian workers during times of high employment has been forfeited.

Temporary work permits can be issued to Europeans for a year with the possibility of an extension of two years. Potential workers must hold a university degree or its equivalent. With that qualification, they can enter the country, either as employees of a European corporation doing contract work in Canada, or as independent, self-employed professionals that have secured contract work here. Sectors of the economy that will be open to them include: legal, architectural, engineering, computing, research and development, market research, management consulting, mining, higher education, and much more

Read more on TheIndependent.ca: http://theindependent.ca/2014/08/19/ceta-temporary-workers-and-the-attack-on-middle-class-jobs/