The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote work across the Canadian economy. Research suggests that for many workers—particularly high skilled workers in certain sectors—remote work is here to stay.
The Canadian government has also set ambitious immigration targets in recent years to tackle growing demographic and labour challenges.
This paper examines the intersection of these two subjects: remote work and immigration. Our research on this emerging issue led us to a series of recommendations that will help attract immigrants to take part in a new Canadian economy that features remote work.
Recommendations Regarding Federal Immigration Policy:
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) should explore new expedited work visa pathways for immigrants in sectors well suited to remote work.
- IRCC should consider a temporary work visa to attract workers who can work remotely.
- IRCC should develop robust targeted marketing on new immigration pathways, highlighting Canada as a remote work destination.
Recommendations Regarding Provinces, Territories, and Municipalities:
- IRCC should coordinate with and provide supports for regional initiatives that successfully relocate remote workers to Canada, especially to communities with demographic and labour challenges.
- Governments at all levels should develop holistic strategies for preparing communities for remote work.
Recommendations Regarding Employers:
- The Government of Canada should convene relevant stakeholders to create guidelines and best practices for businesses considering adopting remote work arrangements.
- The Government of Canada should collaborate with organizations like the Business Development Bank of Canada to create additional support to small and medium-sized enterprises for attracting and retaining immigrants working remotely.
These actions can help Canada benefit from the contributions of new citizens, become a pioneer in the future of work and keep a strong place in the labour market.
Watch the full final presentation.