Policy Points is a publication peer-reviewed by IMRC Associates. New proposals are always welcome. Please email proposals to the IMRC.
Ontario is unique when it comes to international migration in Canada. It is the leading province in overall flows, including individuals participating in the temporary foreign workers (TFWs) program. Employers hire TFWs on a contractual basis to work here, and from 2000 to 2012, about 800,000 came to Ontario – representing 40% of Canada’s total TFWs. Despite their growing numbers, economic importance, and the rapidly changing landscape of federal immigration policy, there is little work looking at the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or its economic impact on the province. In this research, we found that employers in specific industries, like agriculture, senior business management, and childcare, tended to hire TFWs and did so through specific parts of the Program. Our preliminary results show that the influx of TFWs was statistically associated with shorter job tenure, higher Employment Insurance receipts, and increases in wages in some jobs, but lower wages in others. These effects are particularly significant in industries with large numbers of TFWs. So while TFWs undoubtedly contribute to Ontario’s overall economic development, more research should be done to understand their specific economic effects on particular industries and demographics. This is especially important given the provincial responsibilities in labour, health and education, which federal immigration policy directly impacts.
International students bring immense benefits to Ontario’s postsecondary system and labour market through the financial boon they bring to universities and colleges, their cultural diversity, the positive economic impacts they can have on Canadian society after graduation, and the skills they develop and contribute. However, many international students may find it difficult to transition to permanent residence after graduation, or find the career they seek immediately upon completion of their studies. In addition, little is known about the number of international students transitioning to the labour market, their socioeconomic outcomes, or their success in doing so. The present analysis sought to identify the number of international students who entered Ontario from 2000 to 2012, their demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, identify trends in their entry, and identify the ways they most commonly transition to the labour market. It also identified the main policies guiding international student recruitment and transition, and noted the policy changes that would have the most direct effect on international students. This brief summarizes the findings from a research project for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario in 2013-2014.
Meredith Giel (2014), Policy Points, Issue VII
Since 2007, a growing number of Mexican immigrants in the United States have been returning to Mexico. For the first time since the 1960s, net migration in Mexico is zero, implying that just as many Mexicans are returning to Mexico as are going to the United States. There are a number of factors contributing to this return migration by Mexican nationals. This current situation presents the Mexican government with new priorities and responsibilities. Upon return, many of these unskilled workers face barriers preventing proper reintegration back into Mexican society, including a lack of support networks, potential language and cultural barriers dependent on the length of time they spent in the United States, and a lack of skills needed for available employment. The Mexican government is not prepared to assist and support the number of returning migrants. This lack of reintegration support causes many returning migrants to again leave Mexico and fosters a circular form of migration
J. McLaughlin, J. Hennebry, D.C. Cole and G. Williams (2014), Policy Points, Issue VI.
There are currently about 300 000 temporary foreign workers employed in Canada every year, roughly 20 000 of whom work as migrant farm workers (MFWs) in the province of Ontario. MFWs travel primarily from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean and typically work on a seasonal basis, with just over 15 000 workers annually coming to Ontario under Canada’s long-standing Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), and many under the Stream for Lower Skilled Occupations (SLSO). All workers are eligible (with some variability) for provincial health insurance in Ontario (OHIP) and workers’ compensation (WSIB), and are covered by provincial health and safety legislation through the Ministry of Labour, and yet MFWs are not always able or willing to access these health and compensation services. Further, these services often do not extend beyond Canada’s borders. MFWs face difficulties and barriers to access at every ‘stage’ of their journey, from pre-departure to their return home, not just their stay while in Canada.
M. Walton-Roberts, K. Williams, J. Guo and J. Hennebry (2014) Policy Points, Issue V.
Every year, about 17,500 internationally-educated nurses (IENs) immigrate to Canada from countries like the Philippines, India, and China. While many IENs would like to practice in Canada, new immigration policies and professional regulations at the federal and provincial level limits their ability to do so. In response, migrants are increasingly using two-step immigration routes to enter the profession (e.g., international student -> permanent economic immigrant) or pursuing alternative careers in health (e.g., Personal Support Worker). These outcomes have significant policy implications for labour force planning in nursing, ethical recruitment for international healthcare workers, the process of migrant workforce integration, and reproduction of migration as a form of gendered development for sending states. The purpose of this policy points is to summarize our findings from a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) knowledge synthesis report on how migrant transition programs intersect with labour force planning in the Canadian nursing sector. We consider the relevance of these issues for employers, regulators, the Canadian health system, and migrants themselves.
Andrea Pietrzak (2012) Policy Points, Issue III.
This backgrounder summarizes the risks faced by irregular migrants and humanitarian workers in Mexico based on various reports. Utilizing the documentation provided by, Casa del Migrante, a migrant shelter in Saltillo, Mexico, this backgrounder explains the security threats to migrants, migrant shelters and shelter workers. Recommendations are proposed on pages 3 and 4, aimed at Federal, State, Municipal and International levels of government.
J. Hennebry and J. McLaughlin (2011) Policy Points, Issue II.
In this issue of Policy Points we have identified some of the most significant rights issues facing Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) in Canada based on our empirical research amassed over a decade of study. In order to address these problems, we have provided a number of recommendations for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) with an emphasis on some of the most vulnerable workers – those in the Pilot Project for Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training (NOC C & D Pilot), and the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). While recognizing that there are jurisdictional differences and many other changes could be integrated at the provincial and municipal levels, the following provide the most essential federal-level recommendations.
J. McLaughlin and J. Hennebry (2010) Policy Points, Issue I.
Annually, approximately 30,000 migrant farmworkers come to work across Canada from countries such as Mexico, Jamaica, Guatemala, the Philippines and Thailand through Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and the Pilot Project for Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training (NOC C and D). Their health and safety has long been a neglected area of research, but several recent studies have now shed light on some important issues of concern. Despite these studies’ diverse contexts (Ontario and British Columbia) and methods (quantitative questionnaires and qualitative ethnography) the similar findings in each study demonstrate consistent patterns. The purpose of this backgrounder is to summarize the main findings of this recent research: (1) Hennebry, Preibisch and McLaughlin, 2010; (2) McLaughlin, 2009; and (3) Otero and Preibisch, 2009.