If the McGuinty government is to be remembered for one thing, it’s the parade of bankers giving their advice on how to run government – including our public health care.
Former TD economist Don Drummond even did two assignments, first giving advice on health care “sustainability” and then given the larger assignment of providing a blueprint for the government to get out of its financial difficulties.
Given the financial services industry’s role in bringing down the world economy, it’s a little like inviting the arsonist to come back to discuss how to repair your torched house.
The parade extended beyond Drummond.
CIBC and Goldman Sachs were hired by the McGuinty government to give advice on selling off crown assets. The CEO of BMO Financial was asked to vette changes to social assistance. A top executive from Scotiabank was picked to run Infrastructure Ontario.
The banks were also the beneficiary of the blank cheque the government gave corporations in the form of across-the-board tax cuts. The phased in $2.5 billion in tax cuts were supposed to be about generating jobs in this province – that was the excuse — but there was no actual requirement to do so to benefit from this largesse. Instead, as we found out this weekend, the Royal Bank – the largest financial institution in Canada – was doing the opposite.
The very profitable Royal Bank was caught this weekend running a “pilot” project where it was bringing in – via a third-party – temporary foreign IT workers to be trained to take the jobs of 45 IT staff at RBC Investor Services. Incredibly, the training was to be provided by the Canadian workers the contract foreigners were to replace.
One of the non-union IT staff spoke to the CBC and in the process placed himself at enormous personal risk. A whistleblower at 60 years of age, his prospects for finding another job may be grim – especially in the financial services industry, and he may be also putting his severance at risk. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for exposing what many of us already suspected to be true – that corporate outsourcing was now creeping into the middle class and destroying even more jobs here in Canada.
It is no surprise that this is taking place in IT. With remote technology also becoming an increasingly part of the health care industry, there is every incentive for a growing for-profit list of Canadian health care providers to do the same. Their primary duty is not to care, but provide a return to shareholders.
Ironically while Canada is very particular about credentialing foreign doctors, Ontario has no problem with funding citizens to travel abroad to receive surgeries in places like India as part of a growing medical tourism industry. If health care workers think they are safe from similar outsourcing, they should think again.
The Royal’s excuse is rather lame. They claim that abiding by the rules around temporary foreign workers is the responsibility of their outsourcing contractor – iGate – not the bank. Yet clearly Royal knew that it was training these workers in their own Toronto offices with their own Toronto staff to clearly take the jobs of these staff members overseas. The temporary foreign worker program is supposed to fill gaps in the labour market, not displace workers presently in these jobs. iGate and Royal can hardly claim that these foreign workers have skills the Canadians do not possess when it is asking the displaced staff to train them.