Gabriela Rico, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), March 14, 2008
Canada’s labor shortage has created a unique opportunity that a recently opened Tucson business is capitalizing on.
The mother-daughter operation, Consultantes Canadienses LLC (Canadian Consultants), specializes in connecting displaced Mexican workers with jobs in Canada.
“My country is going through a crisis,” said Margaret Cid, a native of Toronto. “I have employers telling me, ‘I just want someone who shows up.’”
So Margaret Cid and her mother, Carmen Cid, who are Canadian citizens and legal U.S. residents, created a step-by-step guide for how to apply for a job, obtain a visa and get settled in Canada.
After spending more than a year investigating the potential for such a business, Margaret Cid determined that connecting desperate employers with workers displaced by Arizona’s employer-sanctions law would be a success.
“Now you can do the jobs that Canadians don’t want to do,” she said, prompting laughter from the crowd.
Although many of those inquiring about relocating to Canada have been illegal workers in the United States, Margaret Cid also has been contacted by U.S. citizens who have lost their construction jobs because of the housing downturn.
Leaving Arizona for Canada
Since the business opened in early February, three clients have received job contracts, Margaret Cid said.
According to Canadian census reports, the country’s aging population, coupled with slow growth, has left a labor void.
In 2006, the median age of the workforce surpassed the 40-year-old mark for the first time.
Already, more than 20 percent of workers in Canada are foreign-born, and government officials are pouring millions into programs for immigrants.
Efforts to get workers include a streamlined immigration program, especially for temporary workers, Margaret Cid said.
Illegal opportunities tempt, too
Consultantes Canadienses offers a four-part program that begins with a free seminar and overview conducted weekly at the central Tucson office, 2030 E. Broadway, Suite 3.
As the services become more personalized, the prices increase from $25 up to $150, which includes Margaret Cid meeting the worker in Canada to help obtain settlement services.
Under Canadian rules, employers wanting to hire foreigners must prove they are unable to find citizens to do the work. They can then apply for what’s known as a “Labor Market Opinion” from the central government to seek workers from outside the country.
Depending on which country the immigrant is from, the process can take one to five months, which has led to some employers hiring illegal workers—something Margaret Cid warns against.
In Canada, children of parents without proper immigration documents will not be allowed to enroll in school or in the national health program, and illegal workers can’t open bank accounts.