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Government of Canada takes action to protect temporary foreign workers

Toronto, Ontario and Calgary, Alberta, July 4, 2012—The Government of Canada is taking action to protect vulnerable foreign workers from the risk of abuse and exploitation in sex trade related businesses. Significant new measures were announced today by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

“Our government is committed to protecting all workers from abuse, exploitation and demeaning work,” said Minister Finley. “Through collaborative partnerships and preventative action, these new measures will further strengthen Canada’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which was launched in early June.”

Foreign nationals brought to Canada to work in sex trade related businesses are particularly at risk of being exploited or abused. Denying these businesses access to temporary foreign workers will help protect vulnerable individuals by keeping them out of these types of situations.

“Canadians want an immigration system that is open and fair—they do not want a system that can be used to exploit people,” said Minister Kenney. “Canadians have told us they want to put a stop to foreign workers entering Canada to work in businesses where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation. The Government has listened and acted.”

Effective immediately, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada will issue negative Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) for all applications from employers linked to the sex trade, effectively preventing them from hiring temporary foreign workers. Also, as of July 14th, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will no longer process new work permit applications from temporary foreign workers intending to work for sex trade related businesses—namely strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours.

In addition to businesses in those sectors, the new restrictions on LMOs will apply to other businesses linked to the sex trade, particularly if there is a heightened risk of abuse or exploitation of workers.

Future actions, including regulatory changes, are under development as part of the Government’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.

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