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Who Feels Economically Threatened by Temporary Foreign Workers? Evidence from the Construction Industry


  • This research was funded by a research grant from the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Diversity, Metropolis British Columbia, Simon Fraser University. I thank Ahna Kim for administering the survey, collecting and organising the data.

Dominique M. Gross, School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St., Vancouver, V6B 5K3, Canada. Email:


In the past decade, Canadian immigration policy experienced a shift towards the expansion of the temporary foreign worker (TFW) program because of a perceived necessity to prevent economic slow down in times of labour shortages. Conditions about hiring TFWs were imposed on employers to avoid abuses that developed in the past with such programs. However, it appears that a majority of construction workers in Metro Vancouver do not trust these conditions work. Skilled workers believe TFWs lower their wage and unskilled workers believe, in addition, that they make it harder to get a job. Also a majority of workers do not believe the program is necessary to fill vacancies. Hence, there appears to be a deep mistrust in the functioning of the program. Active monitoring of the conditions imposed on employers who hire TFWs would greatly improve the perception resident workers have about the program and its acceptability.