Canadian Airlines Hired Temporary Foreign Worker Pilots

by: Obert Madondo | May 11, 2014

Obert Madondo, Editor, The Canadian Progressive

Obert Madondo, Editor, The Canadian Progressive

Canadian airlines exploited the Harper Conservatives’ Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to “systematically” exclude Canadian pilots and hire foreign ones, a new memo reveals.

No only that. Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s department blessed the hiring even though the applicants did not meet “program requirements and guidance”.

The memo from Kenney’s Deputy Minister Ian Shugart reveals that the department ignored concerns by Canadian pilot associations and other stakeholders that the two airlines cited in the memo, Sunwing and Canjet, were “continuing to pursue a business model that avoids hiring Canadian pilots and provides them with significant cost savings.”

The memo suggests that Kenney’s department prioritized the airlines’ interests.

“Requiring Sunwing and Canjet to change too quickly may put these Canadian companies at risk,” said the memo.

“Furthermore, refusing the current applications for reasons other than not meeting current program requirements and guidance this close to the Canadian vacation season may significantly affect both Canadian consumers and Canadian pilots otherwise employed by these companies since the impact on this year’s operations could be severe.”

This is further confirmation that the Conservatives are not committed to fixing this exploitative, colonialism-style program. The TFWP is a double-edged sword. It simultaneously lowers wages in Canada and exploit foreign workers.

Jason Kenney memo on foreign airline pilots and the TFWP

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on