Should I Stay or Should I Go?
A Policy-Research Seminar on Temporary Migration

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Auditorium, Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street, Ottawa

Although Canada has traditionally been a country of permanent immigration, levels of temporary migration have risen steadily in recent years.  In 2006, Canada welcomed more than 268,000 temporary migrants (CIC, Facts and Figures, 2006).  Employers and certain regions have suggested that levels should be increased further to respond to labour market shortages.  Others suggest that temporary migration is an imperfect solution and worry that it may have negative or unintended consequences for Canadian workers and migrants themselves.  Should Canada move in the direction of increased temporary migration?  What are the long-term social and economic impacts of temporary migration? Are temporary migrants at risk for exploitation or do appropriate protections exist?  And what can we learn from the experiences of other countries?

Temporary and Transitional Immigration Programs: Where Are We At?

There is renewed interest in temporary migration, and a number of programs exist to facilitate such movement.  As such, this session will provide an overview of existing policy and programs.  These include the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program and the Live-in Caregiver Program, as well as programs for international students.


  • Chris Worswick, Carleton University (Chair)
  • Bradley Pascoe, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • James Sutherland, Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    (PowerPoint presentation .ppt file)

Temporary Migration and Labour Market Responsiveness

Employers have, for many years, pointed to labour market shortages in particular sectors and regions as an indicator of the need for additional temporary migration.  At the same time, there are suggestions that increased temporary migration will disadvantage Canadian workers or that such programs simply exploit foreign workers willing to work for lower wages.  Can temporary migration address issues of labour market responsiveness? Are temporary programs a means to remedy occupation-specific supply and demand problems? Is temporary migration an appropriate regional economic development strategy?  And will proposed programs, such as the Canada Experience Class, which allows temporary migrants to transition into permanent residency, lead to better labour market outcomes?


How Do Temporary Migrants Do in Canada?: Integration Challenges

Canada prides itself on its humanitarian tradition, its openness to immigrants, and its extension of rights and citizenship to those born abroad.  There are concerns, however, about the outcomes of temporary migrants and the challenges that they may face as a result of their temporary status.  These include issues related to occupational health and safety, limited or misunderstood labour protections and concerns about the housing conditions in which some migrant workers live.  Panellists will discuss research on these challenges and potential policy responses.


What Can We Learn from Others?: International Perspectives

While Canada has traditionally focussed its migration program on permanent immigration, many other countries have emphasized temporary programs, sometimes with mixed results.  How have other countries approached temporary migration?  How have their programs affected host countries as well as the countries of origin?  Can we learn from the experience of others or are these lessons not applicable in the Canadian context? 


Supported by:
National Metropolis Committee and
Human Resources and Social Development Canada

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