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The Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Alberta: Exploring the Key Determinants of Public Opinion Open Access


Other title
Public Opinion
Temporary Foreign Worker
Canadian Public Policy
Public Policy
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Doerksen, Chad
Supervisor and department
Krahn, Harvey (Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Derwing, Tracey (Educational Psychology)
Dorow, Sara (Sociology)
Department of Sociology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
This research explores public opinion regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program in Canada. It is situated within an important moment in the program’s history, in a province with particularly widespread reliance on it. Utilizing the 2013 Alberta Survey – a province-wide telephone survey – I explore Albertans’ opinions regarding the TFW program. This analysis is framed with an overview of the expansion of the TFW program over the past several decades, a description of the extensive media coverage given to several prominent examples of misuse of the program in 2013, and the resulting changes to the program. Compared to results from prior nation-wide surveys, the 2013 findings demonstrate that the majority of Albertans believe the TFW program is necessary. Furthermore, the vast majority of Albertans believe TFWs should have the same workplace rights as Canadians, and a majority believe that TFWs should be able to access permanent residency. These findings highlight points where TFW program policy was disconnected from public opinion, particularly with regard to allowing differential pay and permanent residency rights of TFWs. In addition, the 2013 survey findings illustrate some similarities with findings from the broader literature regarding the key determinants of attitudes towards immigration. In sum, this research makes a significant contribution to the limited literature exploring public opinion regarding the TFW program in Canada. It provides an in-depth analysis of Albertans’ opinions regarding the TFW program and the key factors that shape these opinions, and also insights into the connection between public opinion and public policy.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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