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Unions threatening to pull investments managed by RBC

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – There’s a big threat coming from some of BC’s big union pension plans.

They’re planning to pull over $1 billion of investments and funds managed by RBC in Vancouver because of the outsourcing controversy

Lee Loftus with the BC Insulators Union says this could happen if the Royal Bank does not reverse its use of temporary foreign workers

“This is pension money that’s invested into the Canadian economy in the longer term. Particularly, the training of temporary foreign workers to replace Canadians is extremely offensive to the labour movement and to our membership,” he says.

Loftus says when Canadians are pulling their own personal RBC accounts and canceling credit cards, they want to do their part too and stick up for keeping jobs in our own country.

“If they’re unable to reverse their decision, we will then take that $1 billion of assets and move it to other financial institutions that will support keeping that money with Canadian workers and Canadian investments,” he explains.

The CEO of Royal Bank has issued a public apology, saying the bank is reviewing its supplier arrangements and policies to balance its desire to be a successful business and a leading corporate citizen.

Gord Nixon also says the 45 employees in Toronto who lost their jobs to foreign workers will be offered comparable opportunities at the bank.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he is concerned about the growing use of temporary foreign workers in Canada.

Harper says the reality is that some employers need to bring in outside workers to fill jobs.

But he says foreign workers should only be filling spots temporarily in fields where there are “absolute and acute” labour shortages.

Harper says reforms are being drafted to ensure the program is being used only for that purpose.

In 2012, there were more than 213,000 foreign workers in Canada and another 160,000 immigrants who arrived under the federal skilled worker program.

The rapid growth of the temporary foreign worker program has raised concerns that Canadian companies are filling job vacancies with cheaper workers from overseas rather than actively finding Canadians to fill the jobs.