Foreign Workers: Their Contribution to the Canadian Economy

Last December, I was at Stanfield airport when I saw a group of farm workers asking for some assistance. Since English clearly wasn’t their first language (it was Spanish) I decided to approach them and ask them if I could help them. I was able to contact their employer and explain to him that the workers’ flight home (Mexico) was cancelled. I left the group with the certainty that they felt more relieved after I explained the situation to their employer and a temporary solution was found. 

It was rather unique to be in front of this group of foreign workers who contribute so much to the local and national economy. On December 1st 2010, for example, there were 3,630 foreign workers in Nova Scotia, according to preliminary statistics from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 63% of those foreign workers were in Halifax. Foreign workers are essential to the growth of the country’s economy and the statistics confirm this need:  In 2006, there were 160,908 foreign workers in Canada compared to 283,096 workers on Dec 1st 2010(1).

Temporary foreign workers bring valuable skills that fulfill labour needs in different sectors of the economy when Canadians or permanent residents can’t fill the jobs. From farm workers to specialized workers in the IT or pharmaceutical sector to name just a few, foreign workers are very valuable.

After the encounter at the airport, I thought how their work contributes to the wellbeing of the community. Think, for example, about the delicious strawberries that you have recently eaten, it is likely that they are available in your favourite grocery store because a foreign worker made it possible…working during the season to help the Canadian employer harvest them.

I am the Immigration Employer Support Coordinator at the Greater Halifax Partnership and if you, as an employer, want to learn more about how to hire workers from abroad you can contact me at  I can provide you with all the information you need to start the process.

(1)    Preliminary Data Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Margie_immigrationworks Margie Casallas

As a recent immigrant to Canada, Margie understands the unique skills and perspectives that immigrants bring to Nova Scotia. She holds a Business degree and has eight years of experience in the private sector. Margie enjoys traveling and has experienced living in different countries.


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