Are Canadian banks abusing immigration loopholes to hire temporary workers?

Reports that the Royal Bank of Canada was replacing Canadian employees with temporary foreign workers have riled the public over the past few days, despite denials from the bank and promises from the government to investigate the allegations.

According to CBC News, RBC CEO Gord Nixon says the company did not hire foreign workers to replace some 45 employees. Canada’s largest bank did, however, contract out investor service positions to a company, iGate, that appears to employ temporary foreign workers.

"Our expectation is that all of our contractors comply with the rules and regulations of the country," Nixon told the network. Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program is intended to help companies fill positions, not replace Canadian employees.

[ Related: Scotiabank won't contract out work, says president ]

Thousands of Canadians have threatened to close their RBC accounts, but the controversy may be larger than just one bank. One former employee of TD Bank told CBC News that a dozen IT workers were let go last year and told to train temporary workers sent to replace them. The network received similar complaints for former workers of Scotiabank, CIBC and the Bank of Montreal, all suggesting they were replaced by foreign workers receiving lower wages.

So what do you think? Is it inappropriate for Canadian banks to use loopholes to hire foreign workers at a lower cost? Is this the cost of doing business, or perhaps a misunderstanding that can be rectified by those responsible?

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