Foreign workers are a vital part of Canada’s economy and hiring environment, but by government regulation they should only be used when Canadian workers are not available – so why are 45 RBC employees on the chopping block as Indian workers were moved across the world?
Ottawa confirmed this week that it approved the move, but said it would only have approved it if they were being employed by subcontractor iGate, a California-based company. An office of Human Resources and Skills Development probe was underway to investigate specific details including whether the Indian workers were reporting directly to RBC or to iGate.
RBC claims they are not guilty of replacing Canadian workers because they are simply outsourcing the department to a supplier. However, if the government review finds the incoming workers were employed even partly by RBC the organization could be in trouble.
“If these workers were brought to Canada on LMO-based work permits, then either the employer may not have been fully straightforward with Service Canada about their plans, or someone at Service Canada might have been asleep at the wheel,” said Toronto lawyer Chantal Desloges, who has helped guide corporate clients through the LMO process.
“Service Canada would have approved the LMOs based on the fact that iGate is the employer. If the de facto employer at some point became RBC then this could be a compliance issue with the terms of the LMOs and the work permits as well.”
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley described the situation ““If true… is unacceptable”, if accurate, as “unacceptable”, and customers seem to agree with many taking to Twitter and Facebook to express their disappointment – and intention to take their business elsewhere.
In a move adding insult to injury, the employees being replaced were training the incoming workers, according to Dave Moreau, an affected worker.
RBC’s chief human resources officer Zabeen Hirji said that while the company may need to find a better way to train the new staff, it was working with a supplier, not hiring new employees.
“I can certainly sympathize with the employee and I can understand that it’s a difficult situation. Change is difficult and different people react to it in different ways,” Hirji told the Toronto Star. She also specified that the bank was trying to find new roles for affected staff.