While Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been plagued with controversy, there is another much lesser-known program offering foreign workers express entry into Canada.
The Canadian public has likely not heard a lot about the International Experience Canada program, despite the fact that it operates with even less government oversight and regulation than the contentious Temporary Foreign Worker program.
The program allows employers to import workers from countries like France, Ireland and the UK, without first obtaining a labour market opinion – the government’s validation that a particular worker’s skills are in-demand in Canada. IEC also offers no minimum wage requirements.
In exchange, Canadians are able to work abroad in over 30 participating countries.
Worker advocates are concerned about the implications of an unregulated program importing workers, who may be unskilled and could end up driving down wages for Canadians or other foreign workers. It is particularly disconcerting, says Liberal Immigration critic John McCallum, to have this program up and running while the Temporary Foreign Worker program remains suspended due to abuse.
“It sounds like such a wholesome thing on the government’s website — people coming to discover Canada and Canadians going abroad to do the same,” said McCallum. “But this is a huge concern because it seems to totally subvert what they’re trying to do with temporary foreign workers. The government appears to be actively encouraging companies to participate in a program that doesn’t even require labour market opinions.”
A government spokesperson, however, says that the program does not impede Canadian employment, and that the government is currently reviewing both programs to see how they can improve the situation for both workers and employers.
Source: CTV News
Canadian diplomats are working to improve relations with Mexico by easing travel and trade restrictions.
Speaking out during a recent visit to Mexico, Canadian officials communicated their intent to sign an expanded airline access agreement which would increase direct flights between the two nations.
Relations have been strained between Canada and Mexico in light of Canada’s recent imposition of visitor visa requirements for travellers from Mexico. The policy, which has been publicly derided by Mexican officials, has been in place since 2009 when the Conservative government first embarked on its refugee system crackdowns.
However, the new agreement could signal a willingness on the part of the Canadian government to re-think the controversial policy.
Though they have been vocal in their disappointment with Canada’s recent visa regulation, Mexican officials expressed optimism that this new deal will improve relations, hinting that lifting visa requirements could be the next step.
“The new agreement […] certainly will help our trade, our business people, to move back and forth, as well as tourism,” said Mexico’s undersecretary for North America Sergio Alcocer Martinez, adding that “[i]t is important to facilitate the movement of people.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is facing extreme pressure to address the situation during his current visit to Mexico ahead of the upcoming North American leader’s summit with U.S. President Obama. Prime Minister Harper says that North American relations are among his government’s top priorities moving forward.
Source: Montreal Gazette
Canada may soon change visitor requirements for citizens of several closely allied countries.
Citizens of countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and South Korea have for years been free to enter Canada without obtaining permission or visas. However, that could all change in the near future thanks to the 2011 U.S.-Canada border agreement.
The agreement, which was part of a wider U.S. border security initiative in the wake of 9/11, is part of a long-term coordination effort between the two countries that has been slow to get off the ground. Most recently, a proposal to share immigration information between the two nations was tabled, yet little is known about how much is being shared or the effectiveness of the strategy thus far.
The new proposal would require that visitors travelling to Canada by air obtain permission to land before their arrival. American citizens would be exempted. Travellers to the U.S. have already been dealing with similar policies since 2008.
The government description of the policy suggests that it could be effective in identifying and deterring security threats. Officials would pre-screen candidates for links to war crimes, human-rights violations and other rights-related crime.
So far there has been little detail on when or how the new policy might be implemented.
Source: Wall Street Journal