Canada launches pilot project for undocumented construction workers

construction workers

The government of Canada has launched a new temporary pilot project that will offer permanent residency to undocumented construction workers.

The initiative will create an avenue to residency for up to 500 construction workers, and their families, based in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area responds to a recent parliamentary report on labour shortages in the construction industry in the GTA, and reflects observations from numerous studies about the vulnerability of out-of-status workers.

In the committee’s recommendations, the government was urged to explore solutions for workers in the construction industry with precarious or no immigration status.

As well, the program aims to ease the shortage of construction workers in the GTA.

“These construction workers have come to Canada and made contributions to its economy and currently have limited means to regularize their status,” the government said in a news release.

“Over many years, even decades, some workers who have come to Canada with valid temporary resident status, and who have filled labour shortages in the construction industry, have fallen out of status.”

The application process for out-of-status construction workers will begin on Sept. 3.

The government has partnered with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), a national labour organization with many construction industry affiliates in the GTA, to help select candidates for the program.

Construction workers looking to enroll in the project will first contact the CLC to determine their eligibility to enter. Applicants that are eligible will then be referred to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Spouses and children may be included in the application for permanent residence.

The public policy will take effect on Jan. 2, 2020, and will end on Jan. 1, 2022 or once 500 principal applicants have been granted permanent residence, whichever comes first.

More information on the CLC referral process is available on the CLC website.