Since 2005, the number of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in Saskatchewan – part of the broader constellation of migrant labour – has climbed nearly 700 percent, compared to a national growth rate of 146 percent. This ranked Saskatchewan as the fastest growing destination for TFWs in Canada.

Recent data indicates there are approximately 11,000 migrant workers employed in the province compared to just 1,300 in 2005, with most of that increase taking place since 2010. An estimated 386,000 TFWs are employed throughout Canada. In 2011, Saskatchewan overtook Manitoba as home to the fifth largest migrant workforce after Quebec. Saskatchewan is also unique in that the number of permanent residents parallels the growth of migrant workers in the province.

By drawing on two decades of empirically rich and theory-intense research on migration, the growth of temporary and precarious work and migrant labour, this study will develop a rigorous understanding of how these developments on impacting the resource-based economy of Saskatchewan.

The study investigates:

  • The processes of global recruitment and labour brokerage;
  • Efforts by employers, business associations, organized labour, and community groups to shape public policies related to migration and employment in the province;
  • The conditions under which Saskatchewan emerged as a destination for a growing number of migrant workers. What impact the recent economic downturn in Saskatchewan might have on migrant worker recruitment and conditions of employment constitutes an additional component of the project;
  • Job prospects for newcomers, Indigenous workers, and white Canadian workers during the COVID recovery.

This work has been funded by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF Collaborative Innovation Development Grants, 2014-15 Pilot) and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Insight Development Grant #430-2016-00106; Insight Grant #435-2021-0026).