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Here’s why Canada needs open permits for foreign workers

Fact Sheet & Media

Attached image of Here’s why Canada needs open permits for foreign workers

Author(s): Connelly, C. E.

Date: 2024

Resource: The Globe and Mail.

Big changes to the temporary-foreign-worker program are constantly being announced, but the actual changes tend to fall short of the hype. For example, the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers in some sectors has been recently capped at 20 per cent per workplace instead of the previous 30-per-cent limit, and a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) will now be valid for only six months instead of one year. (The assessments are used to determine whether Canadian workers are available for a job before a foreign worker may be hired.) A Senate report is proposing more changes to the TFW program. Will they make a difference?

All this tinkering has been a lost opportunity. Concern about temporary foreign workers’ impact on the economy has overshadowed the issue of the workers’ welfare, which is no less important.

One major change would immediately protect temporary foreign workers without being too bureaucratic: Open work permits should be provided to temporary foreign workers to allow them to quit one job and apply for a new one.

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Related Research Areas: Temporary and Gig Workers