Bill C-38 to strip foreign strippers of work visas

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Canada's 'peeler bars' might just get a little less 'exotic' with the passing of Bill C-38.

The Ottawa Sun is reporting that provisions included in the Conservatives' massive omnibus budget bill will mean the end of work visas for foreign strippers once and for all.

The controversial "stripper visa," which dates back to 1998, allowes hundreds of foreign-born exotic dancers into the country each year. In 2001 for example, 660 foreign dancers -- mostly from Eastern Europe -- were admitted to Canada.

All they had to do was provide a Canadian job offer and prove they were qualified to 'dance.'

While the Tories' essentially axed that program soon after taking office, roughly 100 of those visas have been renewed each year since 2006.

[ Related: Bill C-38: is it time for critics of the Bill to move on? ]

"The problem is, under the current Immigration Act we don't have the legal authority to deny people visas based on the industry they're working in," Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney told the Sun.

"Now we have the power, which we'll begin using as soon as those regulations are done this summer, to deny visas to people who we think ... might have a high chance of trafficking or exploitation."

Under the new regulations, all existing temporary work visas to foreign-born strippers will be cancelled, all new applications will be denied and all "open" work visa holders will be barred from working in the adult entertainment industry.

But, as the Sun notes,  the strippers aren't taking these changes lying down.

Tim Lambrinos, president of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada, is considering mounting a challenge to the legislation, saying it will only drive these women to work underground.

"When I say 'exotic' what do you think of?" he asked the Sun.

"Foreign, right? Non-indigenous. That's the kind of entertainment people want to see."

Depending on your affinity for the exotic adult entertainment industry, maybe Bill C-38 isn't all bad.

[ Related: Stage to be set today for marathon vote in the Commons over budget bill ]