Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Assessing the Regulation of Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

Document type Article
Author Marsden, Sarah
Journal Osgoode Hall Law Journal
Volume 49
Date 2011-04-01
ISSN 0030-6185
Pages 39-70


There has been an increase in the number of incoming temporary migrant workers to Canada over the past decade. In this article, I critically assess recent changes in the law governing temporary migration to Canada by using theoretical tools from the fields of sociology, geography, and legal geography. A multidisciplinary framework to understand Canada's labour migration policies is provided. Within the socio-historical context of migrant labour regulation in Canada, I argue that political and regulatory developments function to further entrench segregation and exclusion of foreign workers by maintaining a subclass of flexible labour. Specifically, I show that Canada's current temporary migration regime retains the country's historical role as an ethnocratic settler state in which the regulation of migrant workers creates inherent boundaries. These boundaries demarcate racially identified space(s) on the basis of the economic and political logic underlying temporary migration.