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Yellow Knife, North West Territories, Canada June 30, 2007

Canada’s non-agricultural or Temporary Foreign Program (TFP) has similarities to the USA’s H-2B guest worker program. According to Canadian advocates, the TFP has grown exponentially, with 40,000 workers coming to the province of Alberta alone in 2006. Employers are not required to provide housing, transportation, or cover recruitment costs. It is typical for employers to rent housing to the workers, oftentimes charging inflated rents. Under payment of promised contract rates is rampant and enforcement is scare. On a positive note, although difficult, it is possible to switch between employers who have already been approved to hire foreign workers.

Notably different from Canada’s SAP program is that it does not rely on sending country governments to select the workers, but instead engages private labor recruiters to hire the workers. As discussed in regard to the USA programs, unregulated labor recruiters who are free to charge workers as they see fit, can force the worker into such tremendous debt that they are placed in extremely vulnerable positions when laboring abroad.

Global Workers thanks CALL for the invitation to share information and ideas about temporary labor programs and looks forward to continued collaboration to raise the bar on protections for the world’s most vulnerable workers.

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