On, August 15, 2011, a new pilot project will commence in B.C. to permit the family members of most temporary foreign workers (including many low-skilled foreign workers) to work while they are in Canada in the company of the principal applicant who was hired because of his or her skills.
Temporary foreign workers generally enter Canada holding a work permit that meets the need of a specific employer who has been unable to locate Canadians to fit an employment need. In the past, only spouses and common-law partners of temporary foreign workers working in a managerial, professional or skilled trades post of employment had access to open work permits (spousal work permits) that permitted them to work anywhere in British Columbia. As of August 15, spouses, common-law partners and working-age dependents of most temporary foreign workers will be able to secure open work permits. This includes the family members of workers in low-skilled occupations. A maximum of 1,800 open work permits will be offered under the pilot project.