Despite there being nearly 2.5 million Canadians currently jobless, new permits for low-wage foreign workers are still being given the green light under the Trudeau government's Department of Employment.
The Commons human resources committee confirmed as much yesterday. Phillipe Masse, director general of the department's Temporary Foreign Worker Program, said that the permits were going through additional checks, saying: "We’re also pursuing some enhancements to our administration including ensuring the business, the employer has a genuine need for the workers," according to Blacklock's Reporter.
The number of foreign workers hired since the World Health Organization declared a worldwide pandemic on March 11 is not known.
While foreign worker permits are still being given governmental approval, StatsCan has revealed a total of 5,500,000 Canadians were either unemployed or working under reduced hours.
An additional 39 percent of those surveyed said they have fears that their job will be at risk in the near future. The unemployment rate in Canada reached 13 percent in April, according to StatsCan Statistics, compared with 7.8 per cent in March.
"We are of course applying our due diligence in assessing the applications, including requiring employers to provide credible evidence that they've tried to hire Canadians," said Masse. "For those that applied prior to the Covid-19 situation, we're also asking employers to re-advertise in the current situation."
"Canadians should be confident that we will do whatever we can to ensure that their jobs are safe as we continue to fight the global COVID-19 outbreak," said a trio of federal cabinet ministers in their response to the jobs report.
"As provinces and territories begin to lift restrictions and our government continues to take steps towards economic recovery, we will be there for Canadians."
The Harper Conservatives, on the other hand, had introduced rules around hiring migrants while national unemployment was over six percent. All metropolitan areas in Canada have a jobless rate beyond that figure, with the only exception being Abbotsford, British Columbia.