The author of a new study of the federal temporary foreign worker program says the program should be scaled back in favour of better preparing Canadians to fill the nation's workforce.
Kevin McQuillan, a professor at the University of Calgary's school of public policy calls the notion of a general labour shortage "a fallacy," though he concedes certain industries and regions — including Alberta — have a legitimate need for temporary foreign workers.
"Alberta, and Saskatchewan to some extent, are at one end of the spectrum ... and one of the reasons I'm not a supporter of ending the temporary foreign worker program," McQuillan said.
In 2012, the federal government admitted 213,516 temporary foreign workers to the country. It's estimated there are more than 70,000 temporary foreign workers in Alberta, behind only Ontario and B.C.
Employers across the board in Alberta, from highly skilled trades in the oil and gas industry to service industry employers who run restaurants and gas stations, have said they need temporary foreign workers to fill positions they can't find Canadians for.