·  by Bill Curry   ·  The Globe and Mail

TPP Deal Contains Exemptions on Temporary Foreign Workers

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is reviving the debate over temporary foreign workers because side agreements would exempt international companies in Canada from requirements to offer jobs to Canadians first.

The Globe and Mail has confirmed that the deal, like Canada's existing trade pacts, contains provisions that would make it easier for companies from TPP countries to bring temporary foreign workers to their operations in Canada. Employers from some of those countries would also be exempt from a wage floor Ottawa established in 2014 to ensure foreign workers on intracompany transfers are paid the prevailing wage for their occupation.

Canada and 11 other Pacific Rim countries announced the trade pact earlier this month in Atlanta, but it must be approved by the legislatures of the member states. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has championed the deal during the election campaign as evidence of his party's focus on the economy, while NDP Leader Tom Mulcair opposes it. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has said his party is pro-trade, but has not taken a definitive position.

The full text of the trade deal has not yet been released. Trade Minister Ed Fast has promised a provisional text soon. Officials say the rules will vary by occupation, source country and category of businessperson, including intracompany transfers, investors, professionals and technicians. It is not yet known what occupations will be listed under the deal.

Canadian officials say the side deals with the TPP countries were negotiated to ensure no negative effects on Canada's labour market and that partner countries would also agree to ease restrictions on Canadian labour.

"Canadians will benefit from the same treatment in the partner countries as their nationals will benefit from in Canada," said a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.

Complete article in the Globe and Mail

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