Canada Examines RBC’s Use of Foreign Workers

The Canadian government said it is examining whether the Royal Bank of Canada broke immigration rules by hiring foreign workers to replace domestic employees.

RBC, Canada’s largest bank by assets, fired “dozens” of staff in its investors services group and replaced them with individuals under contract with iGATE Corp., the CBC television network reported on its website. One of the employees being replaced told the network the new workers were from India.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said in an e-mailed statement that replacing domestic employees with foreign workers would be “unacceptable.”

RBC said in a statement today that the bank hasn’t hired temporary foreign workers to “take over the job functions of current RBC employees.”

“RBC agreements with suppliers, including in this case iGATE, requires them to ensure that they are abiding by the applicable laws and regulations,” Greg Grice, head of Enterprise Services and chief procurement officer, said in the statement.

A spokesman for Fremont, California-based iGate didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment sent outside normal business hours.

Canada’s temporary foreign worker program isn’t intended to replace Canadian employees with foreigners, Finley said. “When there are jobs available, Canadians must always be the first in line for opportunities from employers who are hiring.”

Finley said her officials are working with immigration authorities to “determine the next steps.”

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