Credits: ERROL MCGIHON/QMI AGENCY)
Border services officers have been told to stop processing work permits as of July 14 in which women are destined for employers where "there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation."
"Strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours are considered business sectors where there are reasonable ground to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation," according to a confidential July 13 bulletin from the Canada Border Services Agency that was obtained by QMI Agency.
The "ministerial instructions" tells hundreds of airport and land border officers that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada is instructed to issue negative Labour Market Opinions to applications received from "sex trade-related businesses."
It said officials of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada are also instructed not to process sex-trade related applications.
The memo said border officers cannot collect fees for applications and the rules apply to all foreign workers from cooks to supervisors who are working in a "sex-related business."
Officers are being warned that women bound for the sex trade may try to slip in as visitors.
They "should be examined for possible misrepresentation," the officers were alerted.
The memo said workers coming here to toil in trades that are regulated or certified by provincial bodies can obtain a visa, and those include workers of massage therapy clinics.
And, starting July 28, some open work permits will be stamped with the condition: "Not valid for employment in businesses related to the sex trade, such as strip clubs, massage parlours and escort services."
"The condition informs the holder that employment in this sector is not permissible," the bulletin states, adding that employers can be held responsible for hiring someone who is not allowed to work in the sex trade.
Tim Lambrinos, of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada, said the ban on foreign dancers is being challenged in court.
"Many of the dancers say they are not at risk in Canada," Lambrinos said. "This law is very unfair against them and us."
Strip club owners said the ban will create a shortage of dancers in this city.
The controversial stripper visa dates back to 1998 and allowed hundreds of foreign dancers into the country each year.
There were 660 dancers admitted in its heyday in 2001, mostly from Eastern Europe. All they had to do was provide a Canadian job offer from a strip club and prove they were qualified to dance.
Only about 100 of these visas have been renewed each year since 2006.
Support for the program plummeted ever since former Liberal immigration minister Judy Sgro resigned in 2000 after facing accusations that she fast-tracked a stripper who worked on her election campaign.
It turned out the dancer was issued a special residency permit in the scandal dubbed "Strippergate."