Fay Faraday, Metcalfe Foundation, April 2014
Over the past decade, Canadian employers have increasingly demanded access to a “flexible” workforce of transnational migrant workers. Canadian laws and policies have responded, speeding the flow of workers to Canada with precarious temporary immigration status. Since 2000, the population of temporary migrant workers in Canada has more than tripled to 338,213 in 2012. Their population has more than doubled since 2006 alone. Despite the recession that began in 2008, the number of migrant workers in Canada has increased every year throughout this period, significantly outstripping the number of permanent economic immigrants admitted to Canada. The sharpest increase has been among workers brought to work in “lower-skilled” jobs — a temporary migration stream that has increased by 2,221% since it began as a pilot project in 2002. Overall, a quarter of migrant workers, primarily from the global south, are employed in low-wage jobs deemed “lower skilled,” such as caregiving, agriculture, food processing, restaurants, fastfood service, hospitality, cleaning, tourism, and retail.
As temporary labour migration has exploded, an industry of thirdparty, for-profit labour recruiters has emerged to match migrant workers with employers in Canada and to help workers navigate the complex process of moving across national borders for authorized work. This report examines low-wage migrant workers’ experience of recruitment and analyzes whether the law can adequately protect low-wage migrant workers from exploitation… READ MORE