A Marxist look at the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada

One of the best examples of the functionality of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program would be the summer tomato harvests in Ontario. Ontario is the largest grower of tomatoes in North America, and the prime season for picking and harvesting those tomatoes is imaginably the summer months. For decades now, foreign workers have been coming up to Canada from Mexico to participate in these harvests. They are generally in the country for over half the year, they work far longer hours than the average Canadian, and up until only a short while ago, they were getting paid around $7 an hour. Their wage has climbed in the last few years to something in the ball park of $11. The foreign workers, who have already been split from their families, are provided food, and shelter paid for by their employers, however the living quarters are unreasonable at best, as a group of 20 or more men may be living in one house at a time. This is coupled with the fact that these workers are away from their wives and children for 6 to 8 months of the year, every year, the poor pay, and the incredibly draining hours they work, this program is absolutely beneficial to the corporations, and detrimental to society as a whole. Marx would cringe at the sight of this. Workers have not become so much a necessity to these organizations, rather a commodity, one that can be purchased and maintained at the lowest prices possible. Here we can really see Marx’s theories of society playing a huge role in a Capitalist society. By looking for alternatives to expensive Canadian workers, Corporations can get their work output at a far lesser price. The government of course has perpetuated this by allowing employers to pay such low wages, and house the workers in such dreadful living conditions. While some fields of business and development may have business actually acquiring foreign workers, such corporations such as McDonalds do not, as there is no shortage of individuals willing to do unskilled retail or service work. However even these corporations have attempted to take full advantage of the program because it is a method that creates a similar work output, for half the price. Marx signaled that the Bourgeois was only concerned in the maximum profit, and the greatest work output, which can clearly be seen in these temporary foreign worker programs.

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