The Temporary Foreign Worker program is filling gaps in a wide range of jobs throughout Canada, but upcoming changes could increase gaps in an age-old sector.
The Government intends to restrict work visa requests through companies linked to the sex trade, but industry insiders warn this could lead to stripper shortages nation-wide.
“The government cannot in good conscience continue to admit temporary foreign workers to work in businesses in sectors where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney pointed out. Yet a spokesman for the strip-club industry says there are more than 700 dancers currently working successfully in Canada on one-year visas.
The government estimates 496 visas have been granted to exotic dancers since 2006.
Adult Entertainment Association of Canada spokesman Tim Lambrinos said it’s unfair of the government to link legal dance clubs with illegal prostitution, and predicts the changes will actually make foreign dancers more vulnerable, because many will move to the underground sex trade rather than leave the country.
“They’re destroying the industry by creating a labour shortage,” he said. “You may see Adult Entertainment Association workshops in the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, Ryerson, George Brown.”
Lambrinos notes that foreign students are allowed to work part time and dancing is a legal profession.
“The word exotic means foreign, and that’s what people want to see,” he said.
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