Construction Workers in the GTA

Canada Grants Amnesty to 500 Construction Workers in the GTA

Canada updated a temporary public policy that allows out-of-status construction workers access to permanent resident status. This policy will help 500 construction workers in the GTA plus their family members. Moreover, applicants have until January 2, 2023, to apply.

The temporary public policy recognizes the contribution of long-term resident construction workers, as well as their vulnerable position due to their lack of status. But, before we explore the policy, let me tell you first why we referred to it as amnesty.

Amnesty for Undocumented Workers

According to our CEO and RCIC, Al Parsai, amnesty refers to offering status to a group of unauthorized residents in Canada. The Minister has the authority to issue amnesty to certain people under section 25.1 of the Immigration Act.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, several groups have requested amnesty for undocumented workers. For example:

On 29 April 2020 the Migrant Workers Centre (MWC), launched a campaign to regularize the status of undocumented workers. The Amnesty for Undocumented Workers campaign calls on the Government of Canada to:

  • Create a new PR program for all essential migrant workers, including undocumented workers.
  • Allow migrant workers in Canada to apply for a 12-month open work permit. Of course, the objective was to allow them to regularize their status while their application is in process.

On 9 October 2020, the MWC hosted a digital rally to discuss the progress of the campaign. There they indicated that:

  • On July 31, the government announced $58.6M in funding to boost protections for TFW and address COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.
  • In August, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced a temporary measure to provide a pathway to permanent residency for asylum claimants working in health care during the pandemic.
  • Until October 9, the MWC got no response from Minister Marco Mendicino to the campaign letter.

The Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the GTA

This policy was launched on January 2, 2020. However, the government updated and extended this policy until January 2, 2023, or until it reaches its maximum capacity. As with all public policies, the Minister can revoke this policy without prior notice.

According to an announcement, pending applications received on or before July 29, 2021, will be processed under the updated Policy.

Eligibility requirements

Officers may grant permanent residence status to foreign nationals who meet the following conditions:

  • They legally entered Canada as a temporary resident;
  • They resided in Canada for at least five years on the date of their application;
  • At the time of the eligibility assessment, they are working without authorization in the construction industry in the GTA. They are also able to provide evidence of three years full-time work experience within the past five years in construction;
  • Have family living in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or has a spouse, common-law partner or child in Canada;
  • Have a referral letter signed by the CLC attesting that the applicant meets the above eligibility conditions; and
  • The foreign national is not inadmissible other than pursuant to any of the following: for no other reasons than misrepresentation related to overstaying their temporary resident status and working without authorization; for no other reasons than overstaying their temporary resident status and working without authorization; section 42 of the Act where the family member is inadmissible under 40(1)(a), 41(a) or 42 of the Act for no other reasons than overstaying their temporary resident status and working or studying without authorization.

These are just some of the general requirements, you can read more about them on the government website.

Construction Occupations Included in the policy

  • Major Group 72 industrial, electrical, and construction trades
  • Major Group 73 maintenance and equipment operation trades
  • Residential and commercial installers and servicers – NOC 7441
  • Heavy equipment operators (except crane) – NOC 7521
  • Construction trades helpers and labourers – NOC 7611


The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) includes City of Toronto, Durham Region, Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region.

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    Andrea Neira