‘Strippergate’ exposes questionable immigration policy (Guest commentary)

By Sergio Karas
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/20/2004

Ottawa has been abuzz about the allegation an exotic dancer from Romania was improperly granted a work permit under a regulatory exemption from the requirement to obtain a ‘labour market opinion” from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). The incident touched off a firestorm and brought demands for the resignation of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Judy Sgro, whose office intervened to help the dancer with her immigration problems.

Canadian employers who offer jobs to foreign nationals normally must obtain a labour market opinion from HRSDC unless the work activity is covered by an exemption from the immigration regulations or an international treaty.

No justification was ever provided by either Citizenship and Immigration Canada or HRSDC as to what societal good was being promoted by the “exotic dancers” exemption, particularly in light of police agency concerns over growing problems with Eastern European crime syndicates in Canada.