Canadian construction workers held a press conference to voice their concern over the government's immigration policies and the consequences to the construction industry.
The 35,000 construction workers told reporters the current system of point assessment for skilled immigrants is disadvantageous to the industry because of the emphasis placed on higher education in the assessment.
Union organiser Dario Di Sante, explained how this puts overseas construction workers at a disadvantage when applying for a Canadian Skilled Migration Visa because seldom do carpenters and drywallers hold degrees or diplomas.
"We need people who know how to do these jobs and are willing to work hard. There are a lot of people like that out there, but they cannot legally enter Canada. The Government must intervene and solve a situation that's rapidly becoming intolerable," said Local 183 Business Manager Tony Dionisio.
This issue has recently been compounded with deportations. Illegal immigrants from South America and Eastern Europe, after years of work in Canada, are being forced to leave the country. A large number of the deportees had gained employment in the construction industry.
"These are honest people who have homes, cars, families here, who paid their taxes and behaved honestly," continued Dionisio. "They must be given a chance to continue living and working here. Canada needs new immigrants, or it will have to face serious problems in the next quarter century. Forecasts tell us that Toronto will grow to 3 million residents. Who will build their houses? The situation that looms ahead is a sign that the system is not working, and this is a shame for our country."
The Union proposes that immigrants, who have lived in Canada for two or more years, without infringing Canadian laws, be granted 5-year visas.
Dionisio's analysis was confirmed by union members in attendance. Luciano Fiorini, a young delegate of the Residential Freeming Contractors Association remarked, "Canada can not afford a gaping hole in its pool of professional skills. Today's foremen will retire sooner or later, and there is nobody to replace them. A whole class of skilled workers is missing."