My Screed on Windsor’s 900 Temporary Foreign Workers

The Real Scene with Michael Deane

Up to 900 foreign workers coming to Windsor to help build EV battery plant, NextStar says amid backlash (CBC article)

So, here’s the scoop: 900 Temporary Foreign Workers are swooping into Windsor for a project backed by government billions. Canadians might be shaking their heads, thinking, “What in the maple syrup is going on – why aren’t Canadians doing those jobs?” But hold on, my fellow Canucks, there’s more to this relocation dance than meets the eye.

Relocating 900 employees isn’t like ordering poutine from your favourite joint—it’s a pricey and time-consuming affair. These folks are the seasoned pros needed to kickstart the project so that us Canadians (2,500 permanent and 1,600 temporary) can grab up jobs along the way. So, before you turn as red as a lobster in a seafood boil, consider this: is this company really going to all this trouble and expense to steal jobs from Canadians, or maybe, just maybe, they got the know-how to get this specialized work (with insider knowledge) done?

Now, let’s shift our focus to what should genuinely ruffle your beaver fur—NO HOUSING STRATEGY. Did Windsor magically conjure up 900 new rental units when they got wind of the battery production plant? Oh, please. St. Thomas, you better brace yourself when that battery plant kicks off too.

Sure, we hear about housing crises in the big shots like Toronto and Halifax (well deserved in their own right), but guess what? Small towns like Windsor and St. Thomas are feeling the housing pinch too. Even Timmins, Ontario, is sweating bullets with its mining boom, and Canmore, Alberta, is so packed it’s like a sardine can. I mean, CMHC stats say Canmore had a 0.2% vacancy rate in 2022—imagine that in Toronto! Can you imagine the hew and cry if the center of the universe had a 0.2% vacancy rate? Politicians everywhere would don hard hats and start putting up scaffolding.

So, here’s the straight goods: don’t blame temporary foreign workers for every housing woe that comes across the newswire (behind everyone of them is a lack of housing planning). The real deal is that we can’t leave a housing strategy to the whims of the market. If we do, all those loonies will vanish into the black holes of Toronto and Vancouver. We need a strategy that’s widespread, involving every level of government along with the private sector. From Windsor to Timmins, Canmore to who-knows-where, we need a plan that’s not just playing catch-up but looking ahead—novel idea, eh? Let’s not be reactive; let’s be as forward-thinking as a beaver building a dam.

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