Invisible, maybe disposable: temporary foreign workers generating more and more of Vancouver’s economic activity

From Tim Horton’s to the electronic gaming industry, a larger and larger share of the city’s economic activity is being generated by temporary foreign workers, people brought here not as immigrants but as employees in a particular employer’s business plan.

When they’re no longer needed, most will go home. For the time being, they are an invisible, although disposable, element of the city’s workforce.

As many as one in 10 of the workers in the city many be in some aspect of the program, according to Westender reporter Jessica Barrett. She probes the issue, to be the focus of an upcoming report from the Mayor’s Working Group on Immigration, in this cover story.

And Sun columnist Doug Todd brings together left and right perspectives in this assessment, which challenges the view that TFWs provide long-term benefits to the Canadian economy. At the core of the debate: who benefits from the lower wages paid to TFWs in low-skilled jobs?

If the TFWs had full immigration rights, would the wages stay so low?