The Temporary Foreign Workers Program in Canada

The Temporary Foreign Workers Program allowed employers to hire foreign workers to fill in positions where there was a shortage of workers. However, a major controversy regarding the program when foreign workers were given jobs positions over Canadians applying for the same job. This resulted in an outrage amongst the Canadians. Even though foreign workers were given more hours and they were treated very poorly. Many foreign workers were exploited by their employer, especially when get came to working ridiculous hours In a CBC news article dated August 15, 2014, it showed that foreign workers may have been given jobs but, they were being paid far less than what a Canadian worker would have been paid (CBC News, 2014). Many Canadians began to lose the jobs over foreign workers programs as it was cheaper for a company to hire someone from another country for a same job and pay them less than what they will pay a Canadian worker, knowing that foreign worker will not be able to say no, as they need to make a living to stay in Canada.

When the news became the centre of attention after many Canadians began to complain that they were not given jobs, but rather being replaced by foreign workers in 2013. The Harper government has implemented several reforms, which include: “Introducing a moratorium on accelerating Labour Market Opinions; requiring employers to pay temporary foreign workers the prevailing wage; allowing the Government to suspend, revoke or refuse to process Temporary Foreign Worker applications in order to better protect the Canadian labour market; Restricting the use of non-official languages as job requirements; and increasing the length and reach of advertising required by employer to ensure no Canadians are available before they can turn foreign worker”(Government of Canada).

Marxist legal theory works perfectly with the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. We live in a Capitalist country, and according to Marx, capitalist can only work if the workers agree and paying them enough to keep the workers happy and productive is the way that allows workers to continue working and being productive. However, this is where the companies began to take advantage of the Temporary Foreign Worker program: First Canadians were being deprived from jobs, resulting in an outcry and change of policies. The secondly, companies began to underpayment of foreign workers than what they will have paid a worker who was Canadian. The pay they received was not enough to make a proper living in Canada. As stated by Palvich “ Capitalists exploit workers to the detriment of all; The more the worker produces the less he has to consume; the more value he creates the more worthless he becomes”( Palvich,2011, pg. 90). In today’s society the finance is what drives our country, and the more profit a company is making the less likely it is care for those who are working to create the profit. The Superstructure, which functions to maintain, reproduce, and legitimize the base, was flawed in this situation because it was not designed in a way that it made people think that there was no other option/way. Rather, creating a huge controversy which then resulted in more strict rules to allow foreign workers working in Canada.

Capitalist does not necessary need to be equality, but it is inequality that drives the capitalist. One person needs to be on the top and the others work under. For many years the way the program has been working and exploiting the employee had been working fine, as no one or not many were complaining. However, has society begun to change near the time of the recession when Canadians were in the desperate need of jobs, the superstructure began to become weaker and a change was needed. There is a dialect relationship between the superstructure and the base, where each shape each other. The superstructure began to become weak with rise of furious Canadians who were given the short stick when it came to hiring for a position. The base began to change as more and more complaints began to appear, resulting in the superstructure to change and being more accountable for their actions on hiring.

CBC news (2014). Temporary Foreign Worker Program misuse sanctions by Harper government, union says. Retrieved October 11, 2014,from

Government of Canada (n.d.) Temporary Foreign Worker Program Retrieved October 12, 2014, from

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & society redefined. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press.


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One response to “The Temporary Foreign Workers Program in Canada

  1. Your description and analysis are generally effective. Your concluding remarks about the ideological aspects of the law governing the TFWP are particularly interesting.

    Question: Does the existence of an ‘us vs. them’ mentality between Canadian workers and temporary foreign workers serve to perpetuate (and even legitimize) the underlying economic base? Who gains from this perception?