Welcome to the FOCAL archive

The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) is no longer in operation. This website documents FOCAL's activities and accomplishments throughout its existence. Thank you for your interest in the work of FOCAL.

Labour Mobility

FOCAL’s Labour Mobility program worked with researchers, experts, migration stakeholders, and Canadian and Latin American policy-makers to identify, create and disseminate up-to-date information and policy analysis on international migration and resulting development impacts. The project drew attention to policy options that could further human and socio-economic development, while helping to minimize socio-economic inequalities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Cross-cutting themes included attention to gender issues and the needs of marginalized populations.

FOCAL project staff worked with civil society partners to explore access to rights, learning opportunities and training for Latin American workers in Canada participating in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

In partnership with the International Migration Research Centre, FOCAL also launched a groundbreaking project, Mapping Migration from the Americas, which uses GIS mapping technology to display foreign worker flows from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mapping Migration from the Americas

MMFTA_small_logo_finalThere is little information readily available in Canada about the development effects of labour migration in sending regions, including remittances and longer-term impacts such as education, skill transfer, investment initiatives and access to social benefits. FOCAL saw an urgent need to generate informed research and analysis to better understand the nature and changing patterns of temporary foreign worker  flows to Canada from the LAC region. To meet this need, the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) partnered with the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) to develop a research tool to inform renewed dialogue and create policy options both in Canada and in sending regions.

The Mapping Migration from the Americas project was launched in 2008 in order to better comprehend the relationship between circular migration and development. The project set out to map the migration flows of temporary foreign workers from six countries in LAC, along with key complementary information such as labour market and development indicator data. Migration flows from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago were mapped. The web-based maps provide critical information and a fresh perspective to inform new research and policy agendas.


Labour Mobility: Selected Publications

Worker_in_field_by_Janet_McLaughlinGaining Perspective on Low-Skill Temporary Labour Migration in Canada
Policy Paper
August 2011
Jenna Hennebry




An agricultural worker prepares ears of corn for shipment.

Low-skill temporary work and non-access to permanent residence | FR | SP
Policy Brief
June 2011
Tatiana Gomez


Niagara_Grape_Harvest_JMcLaughlin_v2Vulnerabilities of female migrant farm workers from Latin America and the Caribbean in Canada | FR | SP
Policy Brief
April 2011
Evelyn Encalada Grez


Employment Insurance: How Canada Can Remain Competitive and Be Fair to Migrant Workers
Article appearing in Policy Options magazine
February 2010
Barbara MacLaren and Luc Lapointe

This article proposes a re-thinking of social benefits for migrant workers from both an ethical and economic perspective.


Janet_McLaughlin_IMG_9710_editedMigration and Health: Implications for Development: A Case Study of Mexican and Jamaican Migrants in Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program
Policy Paper
October 2009
Janet McLaughlin

Making a Case for Reform: Non-Access to Social Security Measures for Migrant Workers

Policy Paper 
October 2009 
Barbara MacLaren and Luc Lapointe


A View of the Hemisphere



Explore the link between governance and development.