Temporary Foreign Workers in Nursing and the Trades in Alberta, 2010-2012

Alison Taylor, University of Alberta
Jason Foster, Athabasca University
Winston Gereluk, Athabasca University (Emeritus Professor)
Joan Scheibelbein, University of Alberta

TFW in Nursing REPORT PDF Document

TFW in Trades REPORT  PDF Document

Tracking High School Apprentices: Expectations, experiences, and outcomes

Alison Taylor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta, Principal investigator; Co-investigator: Wolfgang Lehmann, University of Western Ontario.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2008 – 2010.
The purpose of this research is to provide a better understanding of the impact of participation in a high school apprenticeship on young people’s subsequent education and employment decisions. Questions to guide the research are:

  1. do youth apprenticeships create meaningful post-secondary alternatives that result in positive experiences and outcomes?
  2. what are the organizational and institutional contexts that support or create barriers to positive transition experiences and outcomes for youth?

The Participation of Employers and Unions in High School Apprenticeship

Canadian Council on Learning, 2006-2008
Alison Taylor & Bonnie Watt-Malcolm (U of A).

This project investigates industry factors that influence the effectiveness of high school apprenticeship programs in Alberta and Ontario. A number of high school apprenticeship initiatives involving a variety of construction trades and partners are will be explored.

Inclusion, Participation, and Self-Advocacy: Workplace Learning and Persons with Disabilities 

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2005-2007.
Janice Wallace, Tara Fenwick, Dick Sobsey, Katy Campbell, Research assistant: Sarah Hoffman

Objectives are to develop new research questions towards collaborative action research to help transform current thinking around employability and training of persons with disabilities. The focus is building inclusive learning communities in the workplace. Four community agencies serving persons with disabilities plan to participate in the project.

Outcomes to date:

  • A one-day symposium (October 2006) with invited participants from Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and the UK to identify potential themes for future exploration.
  • A follow-up consultation process and information sharing session with potential research partners in Ontario and the UK during the first week in February, 2007.

The School - Work Youth Transition Process, part of The Changing Nature of Work and Lifelong Learning in the New Economy: National and Case Study Perspectives

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2003-2007.
Alison Taylor, Project Leader

This case study examines policy and practice related to school-work transition (SWT) programs within the K-12 education system in Ontario and Alberta. Recent educational reforms in these provinces include initiatives aimed at improving student transitions. More details at:

Outcomes to date:

Book chapters: Dehli, K. and Taylor, A. (2006). Toward new government of education research: Refashioning researchers as entrepreneurial and ethical subjects. In J. Ozga, T. Seddon,& T. Popkewitz (eds), World Yearbook of Education 2006: Education Research and Policy: Steering the Knowledge-Based Economy (pp. 105-118). New York: Routledge .

  1. Taylor, A., Shultz, L. & Leard, D. (2005). A New Regime of Accountability for Alberta Schools. In T. Harrison (Ed.) (pp. 236-253), The Trojan Horse II. Montreal: Black Rose.
  2. Heinz, W. & Taylor, A. (2005). Learning and work transition policies in a comparative perspective: Canada and Germany. In K. Leithwood, D. Livingstone, A. Cumming, N. Bascia, & A. Datnow (Eds.), International Handbook of Educational Policy, Volume 2 (pp. 847-864). New York: Kluwer.

Refereed journal articles

  1. Taylor, A. and Watt-Malcolm, B. (In press). Expansive learning through high school apprenticeship: Opportunities and limits. Journal of Education and Work , 20(1): 27-44
  2. Shultz, L. and Taylor, A. (In press). Children at work in Alberta. Canadian Public Policy , 32(4): 1-11.
  3. Taylor, A. (2006). The challenges of partnership in school-work transition. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 58(3): 319-336.
  4. Brigham, S. and Taylor, A. (In press). Youth apprenticeship programs for Aboriginal youth in Canada: Smoothing the path from school to work? Canadian Journal of Native Education.
  5. Taylor, A. and Brigham, S. (In press, 2006). Growing health(y) workers. Canadian Public Policy , 32(3): 1-16.
  6. Wishart, D., Taylor, A., and Shultz, L. (2006). The construction and production of youth 'at risk.' Journal of Education Policy , 21(3): 291-304.
  7. Taylor, A. (2006). 'Bright lights and twinkies': Career pathways in an education market. Journal of Education Policy , 21(1): 35-57.
  8. Krahn, H. and Taylor, A. (2005). Resilient teenagers: explaining the high educational aspirations of visible minority immigrant youth in Canada. Journal of International Migration and Integration , 6(3/4): 405-434.
  9. Taylor, A. and Krahn, H. (2005, Winter). Aiming high: Educational aspirations of visible minority immigrant youth. Canadian Social Trends : 8-12.
  10. Taylor, A. (2005). 'Re-culturing' students and selling futures: School-to-work policy in Ontario. Journal of Education and Work, 18(3): 321-340.
  11. Taylor, A. (2005). Finding the future that fits. Gender and Education , 17(2): 165-187.

the Next Generation is a foundation funded by government and the private sector in Alberta to promote school-work transition partnerships between schools and employers. A summer work experience program in health services were evaluated. This involved developing surveys of youth and workplace supervisors, conducting interviews, and writing reports summarizing the data (see below).

  1. Sabetghadam, A. and Taylor, A. (2005). Career pathways in health services: Report of 2005 survey data for student interns (17 pp). Edmonton, AB: CAREERS the Next Generation.
  2. Taylor, A. and Sabetghadam, A. (2005). Career pathways in health services: Report of 2005 survey data for mentors (15 pp). Edmonton, AB: CAREERS the Next Generation.
  3. Taylor, A. and Steinhauer, E. (2005). Aboriginal (Treaty 7) health services internship program: Report based on interview data (24 pp). Edmonton, AB: CAREERS the Next Generation.
  4. Taylor, A. and Sabetghadam, A. (2004). Career pathways in health services: Report of 2004 survey data for mentors (13 pp). Edmonton, AB: CAREERS the Next Generation.
  5. Sabetghadam, A. and Taylor, A. (2004). Career pathways in health services: Report of 2004 survey data for student interns (17 pp). Edmonton, AB: CAREERS the Next Generation.
  6. Brigham, S. and Taylor, A. (2004). CAREERS Aboriginal youth initiative: Report of 2004 qualitative research data (56 pp). Edmonton, AB: CAREERS the Next Generation.
  7. Sabetghadam, A., Taylor, A. and Brigham, S. (2003). Career pathways in health services: Report of 2003 survey data for mentors (29 pp). Edmonton, AB: CAREERS the Next Generation.
  8. Taylor, A., Sabetghadam, A. and Brigham, S. (2003). Career pathways in health services: Report of 2003 survey data for student interns (33 pp). Edmonton, AB: CAREERS the Next Generation

Learning Social Responsibility in Micro-Enterprise: A Collaborative Exploration of Expansive Learning in Practice-Based Networks

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2004-2007.
Tara Fenwick, Lynette Shultz, Sarah Pocklington (U of A), Beth Lange (Concordia University-College), Lee-Anne Ragan (Community Works, Vancouver)

This study uses a collaborative action research approach to study corporate social responsibility practices that develop among small business owners. One group has been meeting in Vancouver since November 2004. Another group is about to start in Edmonton. Project purposes: (1) to create a network of self-employed people to develop and experiment with practices of corporate social responsibility tailored to micro-enterprise; (2) to identify effects (economic, personal, social and ecological) of CSR practices in micro-enterprise; and (3) to examine the learning processes by which self-employed Canadians develop and implement practices of CSR.


  • Presentation to the Academy of Human Resource Development, February 2005
  • Presentation and paper to the Adult Education Research Conference, June 2005

Developing Essential Skills: Changing Contexts and Perspectives: A Workshop on Essential Skills Research

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2004-2005.
Tara Fenwick, Katy Campbell, Shibao Guo plus partner-collaborators (University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan)

The purpose of this workshop held April 25-27 2005 were to enhance the quantity and quality of policy-relevant research in essential skills by bringing together researchers and key stakeholders from across Canada for discussion, information sharing and network building. WLN will be hosting this event in April 2005. Participants included representatives from seven SSHRC- funded research projects from across the country, as well as community groups, government representatives and students.

Effectiveness of Formal and Informal Processes of Learning Essential Skills: A Study of Immigrant Service Organizations

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada: Strategic Initiatives, 2004-2006.
Shibao Guo, Tara Fenwick, Katy Campbell, with Ev Hamdon, Zenobia Jamal, and Tara Gibb *U of A), and Yan Guo with Elizabeth Kuva (University of Calgary)

This project focuses on both formal (classroom-based) and informal learning processes related to employability that occur through volunteer work, classes and client counseling at immigrant service organizations. Four case studies of service organizations are being conducted in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

One Workshop:
Delivering essential skills to immigrants: The role of immigrant service organizations. Developing Essential Skills: Changing Contexts and Perspectives (Chaired by T. Fenwick). April 25-27, 2005, University of Alberta, Edmonton.

Conference Papers
In 2006, there were five conference papers prepared by K. Campbell, T. Fenwick, S. Guo, Y. Guo, T. Gibb, E. Hamdon, E. Kuva, and Z. Jamal.

  • Campbell, K., Fenwick, T., Gibb, T., Guo, S., Guo, Y., Hamdon, E. & Jamal, Z. (2006). Formal and informal processes of learning essential skills: A study of immigrant service organizations . Essential Skills Workshop 2006: Looking Back, Moving Forward . Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), June 7-9, 2006, Montreal.
  • Fenwick, T., Campbell, K., Gibb, T., Hamdon, E., Jamal, Z. (2006). Tangled nets and gentle nettles: Negotiating research questions with immigrant service organizations. 36 th Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), Inter-Cultural Perspectives on Research into Adult Learning: A Global Dialogue , July 4-6,
    2006, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK .
  • Fenwick, T. (2006). Contradiction, control and ambivalence: Canada 's skills initiatives. 25 th Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE) Conference, May 27-30, 2006, York University, Toronto .
  • Guo, S., & Jamal, Z. (2006). Citizenship, integration and informal learning: The role of immigrant service organizations . 8th National Metropolis Conference, Immigration and Canada 's Place in a Changing World, March 23-26, 2006, Vancouver.
  • Guo, Y. ( June 19, 2006 ). Language learning and agency: Perspectives of skilled immigrants . Paper presented at the joint Conference of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics (CAAL), Montreal, Canada.

Two Book Chapters:

  • Guo, S. (2006). Adult Education in the Changing Context of Immigration: New Challenges in a New Era. In T. Fenwick, B. Spencer & T. Nesbit (Eds.), Contexts of Adult Education: Canadian Perspectives (pp.198-207). Toronto: Thompson Nelson.
  • Guo, S. & Andersson, P. (2006). The Politics of Difference: Non/Recognition of Foreign Credentials and Prior Work Experience for Immigrant Professionals in Canada and Sweden. In P. Andersson and J. Harris (Eds.), Re-theorising the Recognition of Prior Learning (pp.183-203). Leicester, UK: NIACE.

Article in research journal:
Guo, S. (in review). Difference, Deficiency, and Devaluation: Tracing the Roots of Non/Recognition of Foreign Credentials for Immigrant Professionals in Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies .

Conference Proceedings:
In 2005 and 2006, the research team along with other participating researchers produced eight conference proceedings' documents.

Negotiating Transitions: Immigrant Women's Work and Learning in the Garment Industry

Tara Fenwick, Joan Schiebelbein, along with partners Ground Zero Productions, Alberta Labour History Institute, Edmonton: A City Called Home, Catherine Cole Associates
Research is complete.

Through interviews with over 35 women working in Edmonton garment plant, this research is exploring their learning processes in various work-based transitions they have experienced, in identity, knowledge, sense of place and sense of vocation. The project is part of a large multi-partner network exploring the labour history of this plant.

Research Outcomes:

  • Two large displays. One was shown at May Week 2005 at The Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Ontario May 29-31, 2005, and at venues in Edmonton throughout the summer-fall 2005. The other was displayed at May Week 2004 and at Research Day, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta, April 2005.
  • One play with multi-media which included historic pictures, factory sounds, and a folksong commissioned from Maria Dunne was presented to Congress in Ontario , May 2005.
  • A performance - Reader's Theatre presentation "Learning on the Line" based on this study of immigrant women's learning in the garment factory for a WLN seminar, May 20, 2005.
  • One paper (Tara Fenwick and Joan Schiebelbein) was published in the Proceedings of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education, 2005.
  • One visual museum of historic GWG artifacts (in negotiation, seeking other sources of funding)

Knowledge Networks of Portfolio Workers

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada: Strategic Initiatives, 2002-2005,
Tara Fenwick with Jean Walrond Patterson, Lee Ellis (U of A), Kiran Mirchandani with Michelle Fortin (OISE/University of Toronto)

This study interviewed 42 self-employed people in BC, Alberta and Ontario to understand their development and use of knowledge networks, and the relation of these networks to workers’ overall business development and conditions of work. The nature of these networks was further explored through online group dialogues. Issues of race and gender were examined in particular.