Recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

At the start of February 2022, Canadian employers were seeking to fill 820,000 vacant positions. Moreover, in April 2022, Canada reported the lowest unemployment rate since 1976. This is resulting in the federal government and provinces across Canada seeking to ease their Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) rules.

This article will explore the initiatives that the federal government and some provinces are taking to help international workers.

The federal government

In April 2022, The Government of Canada introduced five key policy changes to make it easier for Canadian employers to access temporary foreign workers:

  • Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will be valid for 18 months, up from nine. LMIA is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. Before the pandemic, LMIAs were only valid for six months.
  • Further, the maximum duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Stream workers will be extended from 2 years to 3. This extension will help workers qualify for more pathways to permanent residency. Of course, they will also be contributing to the Canadian workforce in the long term.
  • Also, there will no longer be a limit to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries (fish, seafood processing) can fill through the TFW Program. Moreover, the maximum duration of these positions will be increased from 180 days to 270 days per year.

In addition to the changes mentioned above, from April 30:

  • Employers of sectors with demonstrated labour shortages were allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFWP for low-wage positions for one year. The seven eligible sectors include:
    • food manufacturing,
    • wood product manufacturing,
    • furniture and related product manufacturing,
    • accommodation and food services, also
    • construction,
    • hospitals,
    • and nursing and residential care facilities.
    • In addition, Canada will allow all other employers to hire up to 20% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions until further notice. Of course, this represents an increase from the former 10% cap for many employers.
  • Finally, Canada ended the current policy that automatically refuses LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the accommodation and food services and retail trade sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.

Background:

The changes are part of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map. This initiative came in response to the current labour and skills shortages. “As the needs of Canada’s workforce change, we are adjusting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to meet them. Our Workforce Solutions Road Map builds on our progress so far to renew, modernize, and improve this program…” said the Minister of Employment, Carla Qualtrough.

Provinces across Canada

  • Alberta lifted restrictions on hiring new temporary foreign workers

As of May 1, 2022, the Alberta government removed all occupations identified on the ‘refusal to process’ list. A provincial statement said the change will support sectors of Alberta’s economy that are experiencing labour shortages and are also struggling to fill available positions with Canadian workers. According to Statistics Canada, the province had about 88,000 job vacancies.

Moreover, Alberta says it will monitor the impact of this change and make adjustments as necessary to ensure the TFWP continues to benefit its economy. You can read more about this initiative, here: Changes to temporary foreign workers in Alberta.

  • Quebec employers can hire more temporary foreign workers in specific sectors

Since January 10th, 2022, Quebec employers can hire up to 20% temporary foreign workers on their staff. This measure was the latest in a series of initiatives that the province implemented to provide more flexibility for Quebec employers hiring under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). You can read more about it in the following article: Measures for Quebec employers.

  • Ontario to improve and expand its provincial immigrant nominee program

There are currently more than 300,000 jobs in Ontario going unfilled. Therefore, the Ontario government is committed to attracting more skilled newcomers to fill the generational labour shortage in the province. In order to do that, Ontario is investing an additional $15.1 million to improve and expand the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). You can read more about it, in the following article: Improvements to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.

Related Articles

  1. The Transition to Permanent Residency for Temporary Skilled Foreign Workers, further
  2. Top 10: the highest paying jobs in Canada, also
  3. The sectors with the most job vacancies in Canada

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