JasonKenneyBCPeopleFirstDear  Honorable Jason Kenney,

 Re: Foreign Worker Program

BC People First (an organization run by people labeled with a developmental disability for people labeled with a developmental disability) has been following the News on the issues with the Foreign Workers Program.

We feel for the foreign workers that may be losing their jobs due to the suspension of the program with restaurant workers because so many people labeled with a developmental disability face that every day. What we face even more is not getting the work or even the interview.

We have seen restaurant owners interviewed on TV, radio and newspapers saying no one is applying for the jobs they are hiring foreign workers for. This may be true sometimes but so many of our members are ready, willing and able to work; proactively looking for work and not being hired.

There are great programs supported by the Federal and Provincial government to assist people labeled with a developmental disability to get employment but if employers can just hire people from outside the country we do not stand a chance.

Statscan has the unemployment rate of people with a disability at 54% compared to the national average of 6.4%.

There are amazing news reports out there that show the benefits of hiring people labeled with a disability:

http://www.oyetimes.com/lifestyle/daily-life/57049-tim-hortons-hire-people-with-disabilities

http://www.cacl.ca/news-stories/blog/cbc-story-benefits-hiring-disabled-employees

http://www.worksupport.com/research/viewContent.cfm/589

http://www.ilcanada.ca/upload/documents/information_sheet_2007_3of4.pdf

Here is just one of the myths with the amazing fact.

“Myth: Individuals with disabilities are not reliable. Fact:  Individuals with disabilities tend to remain on the job and to maintain better levels of attendance. A US Chamber of Commerce study revealed that workers with disabilities had an 80% lower turnover rate.”

We like that more questions will be asked of employers before they are allowed to bring in Foreign Workers. We are requesting the foreign worker program add this question to the application form:

Has your organization attempted to hire a person with a disability? Have you looked into programs such as The Working Together Wage subsidy program, Ability in Mind (AIM), or Ready, Willing and ABLE?

Regards,

The BC People First Board

Questions can be sent to David Johnston past president BC People First at davidj71@live.ca or 250 467 2117