Workers Without Borders: Immigration & Canada's Economy

In 2016, with the Canadian government set to overhaul its Temporary Foreign Worker Program and other aspects of Canadian immigration policy, Canada was at a crossroads when it came to immigration. As the 2016 Michelle Lang Fellow at the Calgary Herald and the National Post, I produced a six-part series that revealed a growing population of undocumented immigrants; businesses country-wide, in both urban and rural areas, struggling to access labour; and poor integration of immigrants into the job market - all of which resulted in billions of dollars in losses to the economy each year. 

Michelle Lang, an award-winning Calgary Herald journalist, lost her life in December 2009 while on assignment for Canwest News Service in Kandahar, Afghanistan. She was the first Canadian journalist killed while reporting on this war.

Workers Without Borders Introduction 

Canada faces big questions about the future of immigration 

Canada’s immigration policy is at a crossroads. As other countries turn away refugees or have divisive debates on limiting newcomers, Canadians will welcome as many as 300,000 immigrants to the country this year, up from a cap of 285,000 in 2015. 

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Workers Without Borders Part 1

How the temporary foreign worker program is shaping Canada's underground economy

Canada’s population of undocumented immigrants has likely grown by tens of thousands of people since April 2015, when a regulation that limits many temporary foreign workers to four years of working in Canada kicked in. The rule was created to ensure jobs filled by migrant workers were truly temporary. Instead, it has pushed thousands underground.


Workers Without Borders Part 2

Desperate Canadian businesses seek changes to temporary foreign worker program

From the ski slopes of Whistler in the West to the shores of the Bay of Fundy in the East, Canadian businesses say they are desperately looking for employees and blame restrictions on the temporary foreign workers for costing the national economy jobs, productivity and revenue.


Workers Without Borders Part 3

The murky world of the agencies that recruit temporary foreign workers

Chances are the migrant workers building condos in Vancouver, cleaning hotel rooms in Alberta or picking tomatoes in Ontario greenhouses paid fees to come to Canada and work in their low-paying jobs. In some cases, workers are further abused by recruiters who control their money, housing and movements. 


Workers Without Borders Part 4 

Skilled immigrants wasting their talents in Canada

Canada is recognized worldwide for its system for recruiting talented immigrants, but it often fails to give these same people a chance to use their qualifications once they arrive, leading to huge costs for the Canadian economy.  


Workers Without Borders Part 5 

Finding the right formula for business immigration

The Canadian government cancelled it's immigrant entrepreneur program in 2011 amid concerns that it was simply serving as a way for rich foreigners to buy their way into the country, but many provinces see their investments as a way to channel money into small businesses left behind by baby boomers who are retiring.


Workers Without Borders Part 6

Canada's small cities and rural areas desperate for immigrants

As their populations age and young adults move away, small cities and towns across Canada are increasingly looking to immigration as a way to rejuvenate their workforce and expand their tax base. But many struggle to attract people and convince them to stay. Two small cities in Manitoba have designed their own immigration strategies to buck this national trend.