The provisions in the Conservatives’ omnibus budget bill C-38 will give Canadian Immigration officials the power to refuse and invalidate both new and previously-held visas given to foreign-born exotic dancers.
A previous legislative loophole under the Liberal regime accelerated processing waits for foreign workers seeking a Canada work permit in the adult entertainment industry. Strippers were only asked to demonstrate that they had an arranged offer of employment from a Canadian employer and establish that they were qualified to dance.
Once in power, the Conservatives hastily took charge and renewed only 496 exotic dancer Canada work visas from 2006-2011 in comparison to the 1713 permits granted under the Liberals. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney states that the Immigration Act precluded the Tories’ minority government from legally denying Canada work permits based on an applicant’s occupational industry.
Now that the Conservatives have a majority, all prevailing Canada temporary work visas granted to these entertainers will be annulled and new applications will be refuted. In this manner, CIC makes an effort to attenuate the quantity of visas granted those who, says Kenney, “might have a high chance of trafficking or exploitation”.
In the past, a national Labour Market Opinion (LMO) issued by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) would apply to strippers who had a Canadian offer of employment. This allowed employers to get around certain advertising requirements and obtain LMOs on an expedited basis in certain cases. The government appeared to condone exotic dancers performing in Canada as the government makes it easier for an exotic dancer to obtain an LMO than a person working in the Alberta tar sands.
The ability of strippers from abroad to travel to Canada legally and professionally will be compromised if the Conservatives’ budget bill passes. As Canadian temporary work permits become inaccessible for these foreign professionals, the adult entertainment industry runs the risk of being driven underground. On the other hand, Canada’s domestic talent will be given the opportunity to fill voids in this niche sector.