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Gord Nixon, CEO of Royal Bank of Canada , is photographed in his Toronto office on Nov 15 2011.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Royal Bank of Canada chief executive officer Gordon Nixon says the incident involving the outsourcing of technology jobs to temporary foreign workers has been overblown and doesn't reflect the institution's policy on the touchy issue.

"We work very hard as an institution to ensure that we put a very high priority on Canadian jobs," Mr. Nixon said on a CBC morning radio show in Toronto.

"I think our track record when it comes to things like outsourcing is very good. Our record is very impressive."

RBC came under fire over the weekend after allegations emerged that Canada's largest bank contracted iGate Corp. to manage the outsourcing of some technology jobs, and the firm was using temporary foreign workers to displace RBC technology staff.

RBC denies those claims, saying it doesn't get involved in the hiring practices of the companies it hires.

The incident was taken out of context and portrayed in such a way that it triggered a "tremendous reaction," Mr. Nixon said.

The bank has said that iGate hired just one person on a temporary foreign worker visa, arguing that the individual's skills were unique.

The outsourcing at the bank was done using the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which is intended to help employers fill positions after all efforts at recruiting Canadians have been exhausted.

The rules specify that the program cannot be used for work that can be done by Canadians.

"There's no question we've been playing defence to put accurate information out there," said Mr. Nixon, adding that measures are being taken to ensure any displaced Canadian employees are not put out of work.

Follow Bertrand Marotte on Twitter: @globemontrealOpens in a new window

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