The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is indirectly replacing 45 Canadian workers with foreign workers through contracting firm iGate. This move has sparked outrage for good reason. This isn’t a case of sending work overseas; these foreign workers are coming to Canada to displace Canadian workers.
This is all being done under the temporary foreign worker program which allows RBC “to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis to fill those jobs, but only if a Canadian isn’t available to do the work.” However, these IT-related jobs in question at RBC are not high-skill jobs. There are plenty of Canadians who can do this work.
The real issue is money. RBC could easily get a flood of Canadian IT employees if they bumped up the hourly wage they pay. Any apparent shortage comes from trying to pay below the market-based wage.
It makes sense to allow companies to bring in foreign workers for jobs requiring rare skills, but that is far from the case here. The fact that RBC is actually replacing existing workers makes the financial motive even more transparent.
Widespread objection to RBC’s move isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction from organized labour. I’m rarely accused of being left-leaning. I believe in free markets when there are enough players for genuine competition. However, this move by RBC to cut costs is bad for Canada.