Senate Recommends Adding “Temporary” Workers To Reflect True Immigration Numbers

Not too long ago, Canadians were fed the line that only 300,000 to 400,000 people were coming to Canada each year. The more “moderate” plan from the Conservatives supposedly was only 250,000 annually.

Is the Overton Window finally shifting? 5 years ago, this website reported that the true scale of people immigrating to Canada was vastly under reported. See here, here, here, here and here. In reality, the number is more like 1 million per year, and has been for a long time. The Annual Reports to Parliament from 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 are available. 2023 will be covered shortly. In order to have a meaningful discussion on policy, accurate information has to be included.

Specifically, public discourse about “immigration levels” had focused primarily on the number of new permanent residents. This is misleading because it glosses over so-called temporary categories, including:

  1. Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
  2. International Mobility Program (IMP)
  3. International Students

Each of these programs has options to transition to permanent resident, or at least to extend the stay via other means.

Finally, in the Spring of 2023, Statistics Canada finally began disclosing more realistic figures. The organization admitted that 2022 saw approximately 1 million people enter the country.

Now, the Senate has recommended changes in how the TFWP is reported. Does this mean that the TFWP will be scrapped, or greatly scaled down? Nope. What it does it include the numbers in the totals that are disclosed to the public.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program was created in 1973 as a measure of last resort to bring foreign workers to Canada on a temporary basis to fill jobs for which qualified Canadians were not available. It is now clear that this program is essential and entrenched; it is therefore time to recognize this reality and adapt Canada’s migrant labour infrastructure accordingly.

In other words, it’s not going away.

However, to be more transparent with the totals, it’s not just the TFWP that needs to be addressed. There’s also the International Mobility Program, which is similar, but effectively an open work permit. Then there are the hundreds of thousands of student visas handed out every year.

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology recognizes that neither migrant work programs nor workers are truly temporary, and therefore, recommends that the Government of Canada:
implement the March 2024 commitment to include temporary residents in the annual Immigration Levels Plans;
-provide more transparent pre- and on-arrival information about transitioning from temporary work permits to permanent residence;
-review the language and education eligibility criteria required to apply for permanent residence;
expand the Provincial Nominee Program to allow more temporary and migrant workers to obtain permanent residence;
-make migrant workers eligible for integration services under the existing Settlement Program and increase funding to support the additional demand, including to community organizations already doing this work;
develop Settlement Program services specific to temporary residents’ needs including targeted language and education resources to support greater integration and reduce barriers to obtaining permanent residence; and
increase funding to the Migrant Workers Support Program and existing grassroots organizations to support dedicated services across the country to help migrant workers navigate Canadian bureaucracy before, during and after their stay, including accessing health care, social supports like Employment Insurance, and immigration needs.

While the bit about transparency is nice, the Senate also recommends increasing the number of temporary workers that obtain PR status. They also suggest increasing taxpayer funding across the board.

As for their recent report, (archived here), the Senate does show how many people are actually coming via “temporary” categories. Here are the official statistics, compiled from the last 20 years. Sources are the reports linked below.

Year Stu TFWP IMP Total
2003 61,293 82,151 143,444

2004 56,536 90,668 147,204

2005 57,476 99,146 156,622

2006 61,703 112,658 174,361

2007 64,636 165,198 229,834

2008 79,509 192,519 272,028

2009 85,140 178,478 263,618

2010 96,157 182,276 278,433

2011 98,383 190,842 289,225

2012 104,810 213,573 318,383

2013 111,865 221,310 333,175

2014 127,698 95,086 197,924 420,078

2015 219,143 73,016 175,967 468,126

2016 265,111 78,402 207,829 551,342

2017 317,328 78,788 224,033 620,149

2018 356,876 84,229 255,034 696,139

2019 402,427 98,310 306,797 807,534

2020 256,740 84,609 242,130 583,452

2021 445,776 103,552 313,294 862,622

2022 550,187 135,818 470,033 1,156,038

From the way the reports are worded, it appears that these are new visas being issued. In fairness, some are people who had one category expire, and are applying for another.

However, the reports are confusing as to how many people are counted across multiple programs. A cynic may wonder if it’s done deliberately.

This point had been made before, but is important to go over again. (See archive). In 2013/2014, the “Conservative” Government of Stephen Harper faced backlash for how many TFWs were coming into the Canada, and the effect of reducing wages. In 2014, following public backlash at the TFWP being abused, subsequent reports splits it off with the IMP, to help camouflage what was going on.

The Issue of Employer-Specific Work Permits
An overwhelming majority of migrant workers, migrant worker advocates, academics and economists told the committee that employer-specific work permits are the single most egregious condition of vulnerability. While employer-specific work permits are most often associated with the TFWP, Judy Fudge notes that “approximately one-third” of IMP participants also hold them.

Catherine Bryan summarized that the closed work permit is a primary concern for migrant workers because it imposes barriers on their ability to “contest any difficulties that they are encountering and it makes it almost impossible for them to leave.” Elizabeth Kwan added that these permits make “migrant workers vulnerable to abuse and exploitation and provide employers with a stable low-wage and compliant migrant workforce.”

Page 34 of the Senate report recommends scrapping the requirement that foreign workers stay with a single employer.

On some level, it’s nice to see an initiative from the Senate to reflect the true scale of people coming to Canada. However, they seem content with increasing the numbers overall. Not exactly a win.

There’s also the problem that Ottawa doesn’t know how many people remain in the Canada after their visas expire. It was just 2016 when it was announced that a proper entry/exit system would be implemented. Before this, there wasn’t really any passport tracking of who had left.

This Senate report will be followed up.

(4) Canada Senate SOCI Report 2024

(1) 2004 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(2) 2005 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(3) 2006 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(4) 2007 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(5) 2008 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(6) 2009 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(7) 2010 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(8) 2011 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(9) 2012 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(10) 2013 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(11) 2014 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(12) 2015 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(13) 2016 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(14) 2017 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(15) 2018 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(16) 2019 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(17) 2020 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(18) 2021 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(19) 2022 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament
(20) 2023 Annual Immigration Report To Parliament

One Reply to “Senate Recommends Adding “Temporary” Workers To Reflect True Immigration Numbers”

  1. I suspect that Canadians will never recognize that armies can invade without wearing a uniform. Take the uniform off any soldier and no one can tell what their occupation is.

    When you see millions of fighting-aged men in great shape flooding in under one pretext or another, you are watching an army at work, moving into position. They seem extremely co-ordinated in their movements and actions.

    While the invading army is here, we are educating them, financially supporting them, feeding them and housing them in the best of hotels. Despite the fact that the un-uniformed soldiers belong to cults that want to end our way of life and eliminate all Christians, Jews and Hindus, in particular, we pretend none of this is anything to worry about. That’s how dumbed-down Canadians have become.

    Worse, fighting-age Canadian men are drugged to the hilt, waiting for their next fix. No one seems to remember the legend about how an invading force gave the city they were invading, a huge Trojan-horse as a gift and that massive wooden horse turned out to contain soldiers who had an easy time of killing off the drunk and disorderly soldiers.

    We are seeing history repeating itself in slow motion … The UN Trojan-horse migration pacts, the NGOs etc … all bringing in soldiers dressed in civilian clothes.

    Until they get the word from their leaders abroad to attack unsuspecting Canadians in full force, the un-uniformed soldiers simply engage in violent crimes with impunity, because they know the invasion was planned and aided by the invaded ‘government’. The catch and release programs were implemented to ensure the criminals get to practice in peace.

    The returning jihadiis supported by the Canadian taxpayer are organzing these hordes into attacking forces right under our noses. If you think that what HAMAS did to innocents on October 7th, 2023 in Israel was bad you have no idea the carnage Canada will soon see.

    The facts, evidence and history are all there to see.

    The massive increase in violent crime in Toronto alone has turned it into a no-go zone. The crime sprees are simply training exercises –practice, for when they are called to actually do what they came for.

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