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Lululemon has been courting controversy on a frequent basis over the past half decade, including problems with their premium yoga wear and insults directed against their target market demographic.
Lately, they’ve been threatening to pull out of Canada if the government doesn’t grant them specific exemptions for hiring foreign workers. Instead of undergoing the same process that most companies go through when hiring a foreign worker, they demand to bring whoever they wish into the country at any time.
The complaint that Lululemon recent leveled against the government claims that Canada doesn’t have enough skilled workers to fulfill roles at its head office in Vancouver, which employs 1,200 people. Lululemon stresses that they already invest in a variety of educational programs around Canada to help develop the skills they desire. Nonetheless, after growing to become a $2.1 billion company while in Vancouver, Lululemon believes that they’re unable to find any more skilled Canadians to fill important roles.
Essentially, the company wants to operate in a similar fashion to Microsoft, the Canadian film industry and Canadian universities. The leadership at Lululemon believes they have the same talent requirements as the above businesses and organizations, and should be granted the same exemptions.
Lululemon claims that temporary foreign worker rules need to be relaxed to help them compete in the labour market. Specifically, the company wishes to no longer undergo the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) process, which focuses on showing that a company has a plan to transition to a Canadian workforce after hiring a foreign worker to fill a temporary spot.
Professor Domonique M. Gross of Simon Fraser University points out that, if granted this exemption, Lululemon would no longer need to have “consideration for available Canadians” and wouldn’t have to prove anything to the Canadian government. Despite claims that outline their desire to seek top-notch talent from fashion hotspots such as London, New York and San Francisco, Lululemon could easily abuse LMIA leniency by replacing all Canadian workers with less expensive foreigners.
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