Heli Pilots Losing Jobs to Foreign Pilots

Canadian pilots claim companies are passing them over to hire cheaper foreign pilots.
Canadian pilots claim companies are passing them over to hire cheaper foreign pilots.

Canadian helicopter pilots are complaining they’re being unfairly replaced by temporary foreign workers by companies looking to save wage expenses.

Last week the federal government stopped restaurants from hiring foreign nationals on temporary work permits after complaints from Canadian employees that the foreign workers were being hired to displace them because they will accept lower wages and fewer benefits.

Now helicopter pilots have gone public with similar stories. Bill Wadsworth, a Mayne Island helicopter pilot with 25 years of experience told CP he’s applied for several jobs this year and told there were no openings only to discover the companies in question had hired foreign pilots. He said the companies are using the cheaper foreign labour to drive down wages and the expectations of Canadian pilots.

He said the availability of foreign pilots eliminates the incentive to hire and train recently flight school graduates, threatening the normal pipeline of new blood into the industry.

In a Canadian Press story, in circThe federal government is withholding a “public” version of a review of Canada’s options for a replacement fighter until Cabinet has made a decision on how to proceed.

“Bringing in temporary foreign workers takes away any motivation for Canadian companies to bring these young pilots along and provide them with training and education and hours,” he told CP.

Kirsten Brazier, a Vancouver-based pilot, said the government program, aimed at easing labour shortages in various sectors of the economy, is instead turning into a cash cow for unscrupulous companies.

“What the government is doing is enabling these operators to bamboozle the system,” she said.