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Letter: Slap heavy taxes on foreign workers program

By: Letter to the Editor

 | May 07, 2014 - 9:31 AM |
It’s obvious to me the Foreign Workers Program (FWP) is fraught with abuse.

The FWP is a triple-whammy: First, foreigners under this program are likely in low-income jobs that do not contribute anything meaningful to the tax base, and employer-paid health benefits aside, likely draw far more than they input.

Secondly, many (if not most), take what little income they do make, and send some back “home,” further exaggerating the lack of reinvestment into the community that provided said income.

Thirdly, most FWP workers will be adverse to speak out against questionable or downright illegal workplace violation of rights, for fear of being sent back home, eroding our long-fought workers rights.

I have a simple solution:

A yearly 100 per cent tax for companies that use this program that is non-deductible, equal to the median national rate of income in that industry, on top of the wages paid.

The only exception would be foreigners who join a bonafide union (and not just one created solely to circumvent this new tax).

So for example, if a certain coffee chain made famous for its double-doubles wants to import an outsider who would dilute the wages of other service-industry workers, they would be forced to pay a roughly $26,000 tax, on top of the likely $26,000 the worker would earn, to offset what the community would be missing out.

I only suggest an exemption for bonafide unions because they have likely fought hard for their gains, and likely aren’t going to give in to being flooded by foreign workers to appease their mega-conglomerates.

We’d likely take out three birds with one stone: Suddenly when a double-double isn’t artificially being subsidized by the FWP, and costs three dollars, we could likely expect a decrease in health costs related to our ballooning obesity costs.

Secondly, instead of paying $52,000 for a foreigner, perhaps the service industry will reconsider paying a liveable wage, say, $40,000, which would still amount to a savings of $12,000 for the employer.

Finally, not only would workers contribute more to the tax base (quite a bit more income tax is paid with the income I’m presenting over a base minimum wage income), that income would stay relatively close in the community, if not at least our national borders.

We should not have to watch large multi-million and -billion dollar chains devalue the hard work we have put in as a country for our working rights, just because they feel entitled to a few extra dollars for their bottom line.

If service industry workers make up the majority of the low wage industries, and are deemed so easily replaceable, why is it that companies see the need to import outside workers?

Joel Whipple
Sudbury, Ont.

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