Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs Migrant Workers’ Insecurity

In the past decade, Canada’s labour market has undergone a significant shift
to rely increasingly on migrant workers who come to Canada from around the
globe on time-limited work permits to provide labour in an expanding range of
industries. Since 2000, the number of migrant workers employed in Canada has
more than tripled. Expanding in response to employer demand, with little
public debate, the greatest proportionate growth in migrant labour has been
among low-skill, low-wage workers in sectors such as caregiving, agriculture,
hospitality, food services, construction and tourism. This report provides a
critical analysis of the federal and provincial laws that regulate and constrain the
rights of low-wage migrant workers, proposes a rights-based framework to
assess their treatment, identifies the ways in which the law constructs migrant
workers’ insecurity through each stage of the labour migration cycle, and
examines options for systemic change to increase workers’ security.


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