“Niagara officials may state that 2,800 jobs will be created, but they fail to mention what workers will be hired for those jobs. … Chinese investors are already known globally for importing their own workers.”
A Commentary by Melissa McGlashan, Trade Critic, South Niagara Chapter, Council of Canadians
Posted August 22nd, 2017 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – Proponents of the Thundering Waters development in Niagara Falls, Ontario claim that it will create jobs and economic prosperity for people in the region.
In The Globe and Mail on July 25, 2017, Jill Mahoney reported that; “Officials estimate the master-planned community called Paradise would attract 3.5 million visitors a year and directly create 2,800 jobs.” Unfortunately, the fact that the developer, GR (CAN) Group, is a Chinese investor makes local employment from this development highly unlikely.
Canada has a trade and investment agreement with China, known as the Canada – China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, or Canada – China FIPA. Under this agreement China is granted most favoured nation status. This means that no other nation’s companies in Canada (including Canadian companies) can be given preferential treatment over those of China.
Canada has also negotiated a free trade agreement with the European Union known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA. This agreement is scheduled to be implemented on September 21 of this year. Included in CETA is labour mobility, a clause which allows corporations to bring their own work force into Canada bypassing our immigration and minimum wage laws.
Joseph Maloney wrote about CETA’s labour mobility clause in The Province on March 14th of this year, stating; “We have already seen far too much abuse of the Temporary Foreign Workers program, where Canadians were replaced with lower-paid foreign workers.
Under CETA, regulations that ensure no Canadians are available before foreign workers are hired will be illegal.” He also brought attention to the fact that CETA bypasses labour protections, providing no regulations for wages, rights, or working conditions.
Given that use of low-paid workers with no labour protections will be legal in Canada under CETA, and that China has most favoured nation status under the Canada – China FIPA, there is no reason to expect that the Chinese investor proposing to develop the Thundering Waters site will employ workers from this community.
Officials may state that 2,800 jobs will be created, but they fail to mention what workers will be hired for those jobs. There is no requirement for the investor to hire Canadians to build the facility, nor is there any requirement for the investor to hire Canadians to staff the facility.
Since the investors will expect the maximum return on their investment, there is no reason for the GR (CAN) Group to hire Canadians at minimum wage when they can bring their own workers into Canada to work for less.
Chinese investors are already known globally for importing their own workers. China has a free trade agreement with Australia in which they have negotiated a provision that allows Chinese investors to bring their own employees into the country to work on projects valued at more than AUD$150 million.
In addition, there have already been examples of Chinese investors importing their own workers into Canada since the implementation of the Canada – China FIPA. For example, despite numerous unemployed Canadian miners being available to work for a Chinese-owned mining facility in BC, the company insisted that there was not one miner qualified to work in the mine and imported its own workers.
Since importing their own workers is already known to be the practice of Chinese investors, it is likely that they will continue to do so.
These new free trade agreements grant unprecedented powers to foreign investors. Canadians need to be wary of promises regarding jobs and economic prosperity. We need to question who will be obtaining these jobs and who will be receiving the profits from these developments. A provincially significant wetland such as Thundering Waters should not be destroyed for the sole purpose of allowing a foreign investor to profit.
Melissa McGlashan is Trade Critic for the Council of Canadians’ South Niagara Chapter and holds an Honours, Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto including courses in fresh water ecology and genetics. Her involvement in politics began in March of 2016 with the fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This led to her involvement with the Council of Canadians, starting in October of 2016, through which she has become further involved with trade agreements and water protection. She is a daughter, sister, wife, and mother, and resides in Welland, Ontario.
To learn more about the Council of Canadians and its nation-wide public advocacy work, click on – https://canadians.org/ .
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