Movers & Shakers TWENTY11: Thomas Lukaszuk, Alberta Employment and Immigration

Advocating safe sites and people to work on them

Nowhere is the need for quality workers greater than here in Alberta. But as the economy heats up, companies face a huge question: where to find them?

Thomas Lukaszuk, Alberta's minister of employment and immigration, seems to have a sensible solution. He has been urging the federal government to rethink its Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

Right now, there is a four-year limit on a worker's stay in Canada. After that, workers must leave the country and wait another four years before applying to again work temporarily in Canada. Changing that and concentrating on immigration would help employers-and the workers themselves-in the long run, Lukaszuk has argued.

But it's not only the temporary foreign workers issue that has caught our attention.

Lukaszuk, who has been in his current role since January 2010, has been a tireless advocate in making sure that make Alberta's job sites are safer for workers.

You've no doubt read about-or perhaps you've been involved first-hand in-the safety inspections at job sites conducted by his office or have heard about his goal to have 132 Occupational Health and Safety officers on the job by 2014. That's a 55 per cent increase from the 86 officers on the job around the time he assumed his current role.

"I hope this sends a strong message to any company or worker in Alberta who feels the law doesn't apply to them," he told the Edmonton Chapter of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering earlier this year. "That's 132 officers delivering a message that no company, no individual is above the law."

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