Ahem... Correct me if I'm wrong but an ad was placed on an American site back in 2004 advertising for pilots for the newco "Gulf Island Helicopters". The ad was placed by P5 (using his real name) and one of the stated requirements went something like this "Due to the complete lack of professionalism to be found in the Canadian industry we are only accepting candidates with college degrees"... Remember Mr. 5? Ha ha ah that was quite a brouhahah at the time.... But everyone is allowed to change their mind and it appears you have switched 180 degrees and are now fighting the foreign devils on behalf of the Canadian pilots you (now) think so highly of!
I think we are lumping several issues into one bag here. We, for instance, have 2 pilots out of over 100 (and we have quite a few 100-hr pilots and many ranging from 100 to 18,000 as well) who are on a permit to work based on a "Labour Market Opinion". I have nothing against foreign pilots and, in fact, have worked in quite a few other countries myself. That being said it is difficult, not easy to get a foreign pilot in to Canada and get them working. The only reason to go through that difficulty is pressing need. In our case we listed specific criteria and could find no one in Canada (at least none whom applied) that fit the bill, mostly based on the type of aircraft. I think that's a legitimate reason to employ a foreigner as the alternative in some cases is to recuse your company from bidding on projects or, in extreme cases, of fully manning your aircraft.
The flip side of this is the "need" being of your own creation. That is if you can "only" find pilots from outside the country for Day VFR utility work there is an issue. Some operators are good at "spinning" things to show they can't find qualified people but, once again, please don't tar all with the same brush. There is a definite issue with the hourly requirements for some clients aggravating this situation. When a pilot gets 1500 hrs and are fighting fire and moving drill they DO NOT want to go fly lease to lease in the gas patch. Therefore we get the guys who have that amount of time mustering cattle or whatever seeing those jobs as a good entry to the Canadian market. If they weren't allowed to take those positions would the market adjust for that and create more opportunity for lower time Canadians? Personally I doubt it but I think the market is down-turning and the pilot shortage is being eased... or so it seems anyway.
On the matter of an association I was thinking (I think I mentioned this before) why doesn't a small group approach HAC about starting a Pilot and Engineer Committee? Publish some terms of reference that once accepted by the board become the constitution for further development and start getting things lined up? The HAC Board doesn't edit or try to dictate anything to the various committees so it's not like it would be stifled by the "owner's club" (assuming HAC would accept the idea of a committee and I think they would). Eventually, when the participation was up there and things were rolling it could be spun off into HEPAC 20XX as a standalone... maybe I'm still recovering from the May Long but it seems to me this could be a low-overhead approach to getting an association started...