Temporary public policy for out-of-status construction workers in the Greater Toronto Area
The Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) recognizes the economic contribution of long-term resident construction workers and seeks to regularize individuals who have been contributing to the Canadian economy by filling a regional labour market need. At the same time, this public policy addresses the vulnerable position of these workers due to their lack of immigration status.
This temporary public policy will facilitate access to permanent resident status for 500 construction workers in the GTA and their family members.
Public Policy Considerations
Skilled trades, particularly those in construction, will continue to be in demand over the next several years in the GTA. The construction industry is facing significant labour shortages. A stable construction workforce will help ensure that housing and infrastructure projects are delivered. Reports indicate that this workforce has been supported for many years, in part, by long-term residents who have fallen out of immigration status and are operating in the underground economy.
Providing an opportunity to become permanent residents addresses the vulnerability of this undocumented population and allows them to continue to contribute to the sector with legal status. Many undocumented construction workers may be unaware of their employment rights or are hesitant to exercise them. These workers may not benefit from workplace regulations, such as health and safety inspections.
As such, I hereby establish that, pursuant to my authority under section 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act), that there are public policy considerations that justify the granting of permanent residence to foreign nationals who meet the conditions (eligibility requirements) listed below.
Conditions (eligibility requirements)
Based on public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant permanent resident status to foreign nationals who meet the following conditions.
- Foreign Nationals who either:
- Legally entered Canada as a temporary resident; and, previously received authorization to work in the construction industry; and,
- Provide proof of filing Canadian income tax returns or declaring income in Canada (400 principal applicants); or,
- Legally entered Canada as a temporary resident (100 principal applicants);
- Have continuously resided in Canada for at least five years on the date of their application;
- Are currently working without authorization in the construction industry in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and have accumulated, and be able to provide evidence of, three years full-time work experience within the past five years in construction in the GTA in the occupations referenced in Annex A.
- Provide evidence of language ability at Canadian Language Benchmark speaking 4, listening 4, reading 4 and writing 4;
- Have family (mother, father, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or cousin) living in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or have a spouse, common-law partner or child in Canada;
- Have a referral letter signed by the Canadian Labour Congress attesting that the applicant meets the above conditions; and,
- The foreign national (and family members) are not inadmissible other than pursuant to any of the following: paragraph 40(1)(a) and sections 41, 42 of the Act and for no other reasons than overstaying their temporary resident status and working without authorization.
Family members of the principal applicant eligible for immigration to Canada under this public policy will be granted the same admissibility exemptions. Family members are defined as persons who meet the definition of a “family member” in subsection 1(3) of the Regulations as assessed by a delegated officer.
Individuals who have made a refugee claim in Canada and failed refugee claimants are not eligible under this public policy.
Approval in Principle: Once a delegated officer assesses that a foreign national meets the conditions above, except for admissibility determination, this will result in an approval in principle under the public policy. Once approval in principle is received, a removal order, where one exists, will be stayed pursuant to section 233 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. The stay of removal will be in effect until a final decision is made on the permanent residence application.
A final assessment of admissibility will be conducted prior to granting of permanent residence. For greater certainty, those with known inadmissibilities, other than those listed above, will not receive approval in principle.
A Memorandum of Understanding between Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canadian Labour Congress must be valid for this temporary public policy to be in effect. If the Memorandum of Understanding is terminated, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will return applications to the Canadian Labour Congress and processing will cease.
Should there be more than 500 principal applicants who present themselves to the CLC, IRCC will ask the CLC to prioritize applicants based on the following criteria:
Presence of family (in the following order)
- Prioritization of applicants with children in Canada (status of the child is not a consideration)
- Prioritization of applicants with a spouse or common-law partner in Canada (status of the spouse or common-law partner is not a consideration)
Fees: Any applicable fees, including fees for processing an application for permanent residence under subsection 25.2(1) of the Act must be paid and applicable Right of Permanent Residence Fee, must be paid.
Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as defined by Statistics Canada – Toronto Economic Region: City of Toronto, Durham Region, Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region.
Start and End Date: This public policy takes effect on January 2, 2020, and will end on January 1, 2022 or once 500 principal applicants (plus their family members) have been granted permanent residence, whichever comes first. Any applications received prior to January 2, 2022, will be processed under the public policy if the cap of 500 principal applicants has not been reached.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Dated at Ottawa, July 4th, 2019
Annex A – Construction Industry Occupations Included in the Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
- Major Group 72 industrial, electrical and construction trades
- Major Group 73 maintenance and equipment operation trades
- NOC 7441 - residential and commercial installers and servicers
- NOC 7521 - heavy equipment operators (except crane)
- NOC 7611 - construction trades helpers and labourers
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