On the Move: the mobile workforce and policy challenges

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Delphine Nakache

The On the Move Partnership is partnering with CBC Ideas and the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences to present: “On the Move: Temporary Foreign Worker Policy in Canada,” a panel discussion followed by an audience Q&A.

A 7-year, SSHRC-funded research study, the On the Move Partnership is investigating the spectrum of employment-related geographical mobility (ERGM) and its consequences for workers, families, employers, communities, and Canadian municipal, provincial and federal governments. Many workers are ‘on the move’, travelling long distances to, from and within their work. In this panel discussion, five On the Move co-investigators will discuss aspects of their research.

Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) has allowed employers to access internationally mobile workers to meet specific labour needs when Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not available. In 2013 and 2014, a series of reports argued that there was little evidence of the labour shortages and skills mismatches that had been used to justify the existence of the TFWP. At the same time, intense media coverage of anecdotal accounts of international migrant workers being abused by their employers or being hired over Canadian workers fed the belief that the TFWP was being misused. In April 2014, the government announced a moratorium on all new and pending migrant workers’ applications in the food service sector. This ban was lifted with the announcement of a complete overhaul of the TFWP in June 2014.

At Congress, five leading Canadian researchers will discuss some aspects of the TFWP in the broader context of employment related geographical mobility, the recent changes to it and its implications for the policy landscape in Canada.

The event will be moderated by CBC Ideas host Paul Kennedy, and a discussion and audience Q&A will follow. Read the event details here.


Congress of the Humanities and Social SciencesCongress 2015