Canada extends special measures to help employers hire more temporary foreign workers
The Canadian Minister for Employment, Workforce Development, and Official Languages, Minister Randy Boissonnault, has unveiled modifications to the Temporary Foreign Workforce Solutions Road Map aimed at assisting employers in addressing critical labour shortages through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
This is because, despite record levels of immigration, the country’s unemployment rate remained steady at 5.5% in September, highlighting the ongoing demand for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which has surged by around 40% compared to the same period last year.
Nairametrics learnt that the Temporary Foreign Workforce Solutions Road Map has remained an ongoing initiative, designed to enhance employers’ capacity to adapt the TFWP in response to Canada’s labour market and economic dynamics.
The modifications announced by the Minister include the following:
- Employers in seven selected sectors (Food Manufacturing, Wood Product Manufacturing, Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing, Accommodation and Food Services, Construction, Hospitals, and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities) may continue to hire up to 30% of their workforce in low-wage positions through the TFWP;
- For positions paid at or below the provincial or territorial minimum wage, a maximum employment duration of two years will be in effect.
- The validity of Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will be reduced from the previous maximum of 18 months to a maximum of 12 months.
- Starting from January 1st, 2024, employers will be obligated to conduct annual reviews of their temporary foreign workers’ wages to ensure they align with prevailing wage rates for their specific occupation and work region.
These extended measures are scheduled to remain in place until August 30, 2024, with the flexibility to adapt to labour market and economic conditions.
What is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
The TFWP is one of Canada’s two primary work permit programs, managed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), designed to address domestic labour shortages through immigration.
This program encompasses various streams, including agriculture, live-in caregivers, and high and low-wage foreign worker streams, enabling Canadian companies to hire foreign nationals to work in the country.
However, employers must undergo a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, which assesses whether a Canadian permanent resident or citizen could have been hired for the same role.
A positive LMIA decision allows the hiring of a foreign worker, while a negative decision results in the rejection of the work permit application. LMIA-supported work permits are tied to a specific employer and industry