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Immigration and labour market flexibility should be an election issue

Over the past few years the Tories have been drumming up a lot of fear about immigrants and refugees flooding over Canada’s borders. But the truth is that Canada is accepting far less permanent residents and refugees that ever before.

Indeed, Canada’s refugee policy is far from generous.  After all, as the folks from “No One is Illegal” have pointed out in 2008/2009 Canada only accepted about 11,000 refugees, most of whom were applications from inside the country. At the same time, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees announced that Syria, Lebanon and Jordan accepted 885,000 Iraqi refugees between them.

Moreover, while it is now even more difficult to meet the criteria to become a permanent resident in Canada (unless you are highly skilled and have money) the number of temporary workers allowed into the country has doubled from 2007 until now. But what is even more surprising about about the temporary foreign worker program is that after four years of working in Canada, these workers must leave the country and are banned from re-entering as workers or under a different immigration status. A new crop of temporary migrants are then supposed to replace the ones who have been banned from staying in the country. The NDP in Manitoba has attempted to mitigate against this policy at the provincial level by nominating temporary migrants to become permanent residents. But this is not a solution to an overall immigration framework aimed at increasing labour market flexibility on the backs of the most vulnerable members of our community.

The CBC has done an excellent job of covering the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in some detail. See here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/realitycheck/2011/04/temporary-foreign-workers-why-so-many-all-of-a-sudden.html

This really should be an election issue.

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