The linked article sets out preliminary salvoes for the shape and direction of Canada's future immigration policy under our new government:
What is noteworthy about this article and these efforts from the political left to shape the contour of permanent residence and the foreign worker program over the coming years.
At present, most foreign workers who come to Canada, arrive on employer specific work permits. This restricts them from employment with non listed employers unless, in most cases, the new employer obtains a new labour market impact assessment (LMIA) from Service Canada which can be used by the worker to obtain a new work permit. Businesses tend to prefer employer specific work permits precisely because they gain the stability of the foreign worker working for them for the specified period, usually two years. If these proposed changes were made, foreign workers would be in a position to change employment anytime they chose without the new employer having to go through the recruitment and expense of obtaining an LMIA. Therefore, on some level, these changes would necessitate a radical departure from the existing foreign worker regime.
While the intentions of these changes are laudable, in that open work permits would clearly protect workers from exploitation, the details provided for such changes are not easy to discern and raise more questions than answers. How would foreign workers be selected if not through an employer specific LMIA? Would selection be based on qualifications? Age? Language ability? Work experience? Would workers simply be selected through job offers not validated through an LMIA process? If so, how could the system be protected from fraud and abuse? Further, how would open work permits interact with the existing Express Entry regime, which awards greatly rewards workers who have obtained LMIAs?
The lack of details are not surprising as this appears to be an attempt to frame the debate. It will be interesting to observe the counterpoints made by other stakeholders, such as Canadian businesses with respect to this issue. Stay tuned.