Canada To Relax Temporary Foreign Workers Program Rules

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Canada To Relax Temporary Foreign Workers Program Rules

Canada is looking to relax the Temporary Foreign Workers Program rules (TFWP) to address labour shortages.

The Canadian employers in the food service sector will be able to hire up to 30 percent of their workforce through the TFWP and other changes will be coming for the temporary foreign workers.

Canada has introduced measures to help make it easy for employers in Canada to access temporary foreign workers. These measures were announced on April 4 and it was in response to a nationwide labour shortage.

Canada is currently experiencing a low unemployment rate and high job vacancies.

The Canadian government believes that one way to address the labour shortages is to bring in temporary foreign workers to help fill in job positions where there is no a Canadian citizen or permanent resident available to do the work.

According to a media released by the government, the changes that have been made to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) are meant to help the country build its workforce.

Five Major Changes Coming For The TFWP

  • The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIAs) will be valid for about 18 months instead of 9 months. The document helps the employers to show the Canadian government that hiring a foreign worker to come to Canada to work will have no negative effect on the labour market as there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident available for the job. The LMIAs was only valid for six months prior to the pandemic.
  • The maximum duration of employment for High-wage and Global Talent Stream workers will be extended from two years to three years and the extension will help workers to gain more Canadian work experience and also help them qualify for more immigration programs to get permanent residency in Canada which will help them contribute to the workforce of Canada.
  • The Seasonal Cap Exemption which has been in place since 2015 will now become permanent. The limit to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries can fill through the TFWP will be removed. The maximum duration of these positions will be increased from 180 days to 270 days per year.

Starting from April 30:

  • Employers of the sectors that have shown labour shortages will be allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFWP for low-wage positions for one year. The seven eligible sectors are food manufacturing, nursing, residential care, accommodation and food services, construction and hospitals. Other employers will be allowed to hire up to 20% of their workforce through the TFWP for low-wage positions until further notice, this is an increase from the 10% cap initially.
  • Lastly, the current policy of automatically refusing LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the accommodation and food services and retail trades sector in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher will be stopped.

The labour market of Canada is tighter than before the pandemic and the job vacancy rate reached a historic peak in the third quarter of 2021. Most of the unmet demand for labour in the low-wage occupations.

According to Statistics Canada, the following sectors faced the highest number of vacancies in November 2021:

  • Accommodation and Food Services – 130,070 vacancies
  • HealthCare and Social Assistance – 119,590 vacancies
  • Retail trade – 103,990 vacancies
  • Manufacturing – 81,775 vacancies

Last year, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program approved about 5,000 positions under the Global Talent Stream and 23,000 positions in the high-wage stream. Together, the programs represent about 21% of all approved LMIA positions for 2021.

An estimate of about 50,000 to 60,000 foreign agricultural workers come to work in Canada each year which accounts for more than 60% of all foreign workers  entering Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).


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