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Canada Policy Extends Residency to Migrant Workers

RCS Canada Policy Extends Residency to Migrant Workers
August 25, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.

A recent parliamentary report on labor shortages in Toronto urged the government to take action to protect workers with precarious or no immigration status.

Recognizing the economic contributions of its long-term resident construction workers in the face of a growing labor shortage, Canada passed a temporary public policy that will facilitate access to permanent resident status for 500 workers and their families.

The Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area “addresses the vulnerable position of these workers due to their lack of immigration status.” The policy was developed after reports indicated that for many years the workforce was being supported by “long-term residents who have fallen out of immigration status and are operating in the underground economy.”

Toronto is experiencing a tremendous rate of construction, and had more cranes than any other city in North America, with 120 in place at the end of the second quarter, according to the Rider Levett Bucknall's Crane Index. Much of the construction is due to the city’s demand for housing and office space. The Toronto Sun reported that the city is adding 31 skyscrapers by 2024 and another 50 are in the planning stages.

With all of these construction projects, labor is in high demand. Couple that with the fact that over the next ten years it is estimated that 91,100 workers, representing 25 percent of Ontario’s current construction labor force, plan to retire. This means there are a lot of skilled labor positions needed in the city, thus the reason for the policy. BuildForce Canada estimates that the province will need to find an additional 103,900 construction workers to meet its future needs.

In a recent press release the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship stated that, “This temporary initiative is a step forward to increase the protection of some of these construction workers and their families, while safeguarding Canada’s labour market and ensuring that Canada can retain the workers it needs to grow the economy and build communities.”

Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements as determined by the Canadian Labour Congress who will determine eligibility. The policy allows for certain family members such as spouses, partners, children to be included in the application. 

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