Essential work is critical to Canada’s economy and the provision of basic goods and services. Canada relies on immigrants and temporary residents in many essential sectors and occupations in sectors such as healthcare and agriculture.
Canada’s economic immigration system has a strong focus on highly educated immigrants, but this does not always correspond with the labour demand in essential sectors. There are systemic challenges around who does essential work, under what conditions, and for what kind of compensation and benefits. Essential work is often devalued, marked by low wages and lack of benefits and protections.
In Valued Workers, Valuable Work: The Current and Future Role of (Im)migrant Talent, the author analyzes the level of Canada’s dependence on immigrants and temporary residents as essential workers and the extent to which the current immigrant talent pool and channels are “fit for purpose” to fill essential vacancies.