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Immigration Key to Sustaining Saskatchewan’s Growth

Saskatchewan’s population growth from 996,130 residents in 2008 to the present 1,117,503 is proof that Saskatchewan is a great place to call home. As the province continues to grow, the issue of Saskatchewan’s labour market shortage has been well documented as having a negative impact on business growth and capital investment within our province.

Although many people from other provinces are choosing to move to Saskatchewan, our population growth is due largely to the willingness of foreign residents to immigrate and make a better life in our great province.

This is why I fail to understand the recent criticisms of granting temporary foreign worker permits, particularly at a time when there is a shortage of both skilled and unskilled labour. Allowing this program to temporarily alleviate pressure faced by the business community in expanding their operations can only result in continual growth and prosperity within our province. This is the reason the program needs to exist until more long-term solutions are achieved.

Without the temporary foreign worker program, many businesses would be forced to scale back current operations, or eliminate new capital investment all together as gaps in the labour market go permanently unfilled. If left un-resolved, this could severely limit the growth potential of our provincial economy.

The Saskatchewan Liberal Party should promote increasing permanent immigration levels in order to maintain the prosperity we have experienced in the province. It would ensure that our province has the skilled and unskilled labour force the business community needs in order to remain competitive in a domestic and global marketplace. It would also allow the temporary foreign worker program to be phased out in a gradual manner. Temporary workers presently employed in our province should be given the first opportunity to go through the application process to become permanent residents.

The temporary foreign worker program must also be subject to increased oversight to prevent abuse. A more stringent Canadian worker first policy must be in place when a business applies for the TFW program where the welfare of all employees, both domestic and foreign, are monitored on an ongoing basis. If abuse of the program is found, real and substantial penalties should be imposed.

Chad Lamoureux

P.S. We are asking Saskatchewan Liberal Party members to share their views as we shape our party’s platform for the next election. We welcome your comments on our Facebook page, or by emailing policy@saskliberals.ca

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