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Wilfrid Laurier University Office of Research Services
October 28, 2016
Canadian Excellence


International Migration Research Centre

A Model for Managed Migration? Re-Examining Best Practices in Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

Jenna L. Hennebry and Kerry Preibisch

published: 2010 | Research publication | publ. in International Migration

This paper situates Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
(SAWP) within the policy and scholarly debates on ‘‘best practices’’ for
the management of temporary migration, and examines what makes this
programme successful from the perspective of states and employers. Drawing
on extensive qualitative and quantitative study of temporary migration
in Canada, this article critically examines this seminal temporary migration
programme as a ‘‘best practice model’’ from internationally recognized
rights-based approaches to labour migration, and provides some additional
best practices for the management of temporary labour migration programmes.
This paper examines how the reality of the Canadian SAWP
measures up, when the model is evaluated according to internationally recognized
best practices and migrant rights regimes. Despite all of the attention
to building ‘‘best practices’’ for the management of temporary or
managed migration, it appears that Canada has taken steps further away
from these and other international frameworks. The analysis reveals that
while the Canadian programme involves a number of successful practices,
such as the cooperation between origin and destination countries, transparency
in the admissions criteria for selection, and access to health care for
temporary migrants; the programme does not adhere to the majority of
best practices emerging in international forums, such as the recognition of
migrants’ qualifications, providing opportunities for skills transfer, avoiding
imposing forced savings schemes, and providing paths to permanent
residency. This paper argues that as Canada takes significant steps toward                                                the expansion of temporary migration, Canada’s model programme still
falls considerably short of being an inspirational model, and instead
provides us with little more than an idealized myth.

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revised Jul 24/10

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