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23 Canadian Lab. & Emp. L.J. 71 (2021)
Flawed by Design? A Case Study of Federal Enforcement of Migrant Workers' Labour Rights in Canada

handle is hein.journals/canlemj23 and id is 77 raw text is: Flawed by Design?
A Case Study of Federal Enforcement of
Migrant Workers' Labour Rights in Canada
Sarah Marsden,* Eric Tucker** & Leah F. Vosko***
Although Canada's migrant labour programs are seen by some as models
of best practices, rights shortfalls and exploitation of workers are well docu-
mented. Through migration policy, federal authorities determine who can hire
migrant workers and the conditions under which they are employed, through the
provision of work permits. Despite its authority over work permits, the federal
government has historically had little to do with the regulation of working condi-
tions. In 2015, the federal government introduced a new regulatory enforcement
system - unique internationally for its attempt to enforce migrants' workplace
rights through federal migration policy - under which employers must comply
with contractual employment terms, uphold provincial workplace standards,
and make efforts to maintain a workplace free of abuse. Drawing on enforce-
ment data, and frontline law and policy documents, we critically assess the new
enforcement system, concluding that, because of design flaws and implementa-
tion failures, it does not realize its potential to protect workers' rights.
1. INTRODUCTION
Canada is home to a longstanding and expansive tempor-
ary migrant worker program. Migrant workers1 in Canada provide
*  Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University.
** Osgoode Hall Law School, York University; Distinguished Scholar in Residence,
Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University.
*** Political Science, York University.
Authorship is listed alphabetically to reflect equal contribution.
1 We use the term migrant worker to refer in general to workers in Canada with-
out permanent residency status. In principle, this group includes undocumented
workers, but because our study is focused on documented workers, the term has
this more limited meaning herein. Documented migrant workers enter Canada
under two programs: the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the
International Mobility Program (IMP). We refer to workers in the TFWP as
TFWs. All TFWs fall within the inspection program. Only some workers migrat-
ing under the IMP (those requiring closed work permits) fall within the ambit of
the program. Our focus is TFWs, but, where appropriate, we indicate when we
are also referring to covered IMP workers.

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