Logo en Global Donate now


Document Details


Print and save

Journal article

A Model for Managed Migration? Re-Examining Best Practices in Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

This document is a key resource




Jenna Hennebry and Kerry Preibish


This paper situates Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
(SAWP) within the policy and scholarly debates on ‘‘best practices’’ for
the management of temporary migration, and examines what makes this
programme successful from the perspective of states and employers. Drawing
on extensive qualitative and quantitative study of temporary migration
in Canada, this article critically examines this seminal temporary migration
programme as a ‘‘best practice model’’ from internationally recognized
rights-based approaches to labour migration, and provides some additional
best practices for the management of temporary labour migration programmes.
This paper examines how the reality of the Canadian SAWP
measures up, when the model is evaluated according to internationally recognized
best practices and migrant rights regimes. Despite all of the attention
to building ‘‘best practices’’ for the management of temporary or
managed migration, it appears that Canada has taken steps further away
from these and other international frameworks. The analysis reveals that
while the Canadian programme involves a number of successful practices,
such as the cooperation between origin and destination countries, transparency
in the admissions criteria for selection, and access to health care for
temporary migrants; the programme does not adhere to the majority of
best practices emerging in international forums, such as the recognition of
migrants’ qualifications, providing opportunities for skills transfer, avoiding
imposing forced savings schemes, and providing paths to permanent
residency. This paper argues that as Canada takes significant steps toward the expansion of temporary migration, Canada’s model programme still
falls considerably short of being an inspirational model, and instead
provides us with little more than an idealized myth.

Journal title

International Migration


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place published

Malden, MA


Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers, Occupations in services - Domestic work, Sales and service occupations - general, Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations - general, Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations - general, Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing, Dancers, and Other

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups

Policymakers and Researchers

Regulation domains

Right to change employer, Right to choose place of residence, Right to unionize, Labour standards, Health and safety at work, Newcomers integration programs, Health care & social services, Access to permanent status, Family reunification, Recrutement / placement agencies, Housing standards, and (Im)migrant workers selection criteria

Spheres of activity

Journalism, media studies and communication, Law, Political science, and Sociology