The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has launched an initiative to help 500 undocumented construction workers find a route to permanent residence status.
The CLC will work with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the government agency that handles immigration, and will focus on workers and their families in the Greater Toronto Area.
The initiative responds to a recent parliamentary report on labour shortages in the construction industry in Toronto, and draws on a number of studies about the vulnerability of "out-of-status" workers. The report recommended that the federal government find ways to regularise the status of construction workers with precarious or no immigration status.
The government said in a press release: "These construction workers have come to Canada and made contributions to its economy and currently have limited means to regularise their status.
"Over many years, even decades, some workers who have come to Canada with valid temporary resident status, and who have filled labour shortages in the construction industry, have fallen out of status."
The application process will begin on 3 September, and will require workers to contact the CLC to determine their eligibility.
The first 500 to qualify will be referred to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Spouses and children may be included in the application.
Image: Toronto is suffering a shortage of construction workers (Dreamstime)