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Report/Press release

Foreign Migrant Workers in Alberta

Date

2013

Authors

Bob Barnetson and Jason Foster

Abstract

Policy changes driven by Alberta’s oil boom of the 2000s have resulted in unprecedented growth in the use of foreign migrant workers.
At present, foreign migrant workers comprise as much as 8% of Alberta’s workforce. This paper
explores why employers have dramatically increased their use of foreign migrant workers as well as
how and why the government has supported employers in this effort. Alberta’s experience with
temporary foreign workers (TFWs) suggests that growing reliance on foreign migrant labour appears to
disempower both migrant and Canadian workers. Foreign migrant workers have limited ability to realize their rights due to employment precocity and social isolation
.
Canadian workers face competition from less
expensive and more docile foreign migrant workers, thereby heightening the
consequences of
resisting
employer demands
.
These outcomes are cons
istent with the
neoliberal prescription for restructuring the labour market, a prescription that Alberta’s
oil
-
boom appears to have accelerated.

Responsible institution

Université de l'Alberta

Place published

Edmonton

File Attachments

Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Content types

Policy analysis and Numbers of migrant workers

Geographical focuses

Alberta

Languages

English