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Most residents would be willing to keep the program, but only under greater scrutiny than now.

Vancouver, BC – Most people in British Columbia hold negative views on the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program, a new Insights West poll has found.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program can help employers in Canada meet their labour needs when Canadian citizens and permanent residents are not available. The program has faced criticism in recent weeks, following allegations that three fast-food restaurants in Victoria gave priority status to foreign workers over Canadian employees. Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney announced an immediate moratorium on the fast-food industry’s reliance on the program.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, two thirds of British Columbians (68%) say they are “very familiar” or “somewhat familiar” with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

When asked about their opinion of the program, most British Columbians (53%) say they oppose it, while only one third (34%) support it.

Hostility towards the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is equally strong among men and women (53% each). British Columbians aged 18-to-34 are split in their assessment (35% support the program, 35% oppose it), while most residents aged 35-to-54 (56%) and aged 55 and over (61%) hold unfavourable views.


Residents who voted for the BC Liberals in last year’s provincial election are more likely to voice support the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (45%) than those who cast a ballot for the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) (23%).

Across the province, three-in-five residents (60%) would like to see the Temporary Foreign Worker Program continue in British Columbia, but under greater scrutiny than now. Only 4% would keep the program as it is with no changes, while one-in-five (22%) would prefer to abolish it altogether.

“It is clear that British Columbians despise the status-quo on the temporary workers issue,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “Overall views of the program are unfavourable, but a change in some of the operational and logistics aspects is preferred by residents over the complete disappearance of the program.”


About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 7 to May 10, 2014, among 824 British Columbians who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and religious affiliation. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tables, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Jessie Pearl