Canada recently extended special measures to help employers hire more temporary foreign workers in selected industries. The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault, announced the changes to the Temporary Foreign Workforce Solutions Road Map in an effort to address the key labor shortages through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
The Temporary Foreign Workforce Solutions Road Map
The Temporary Foreign Workforce Solutions Road Map is a measure designed to enable employers to respond better to labor and economic conditions in Canada. As part of this continuous effort, several changes have been instituted or maintained based on the current announcement.
Changes Introduced in the Road Map
The newly announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Workforce Solutions Road Map extend measures across multiple sectors. These include:
- Expanded hiring for select industries: 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 – can continue to hire up to 30% of their workforce in low-wage positions through the TFWP.
- Duration cap on employment: A duration cap of employment of two years will be upheld for positions under the provincial or territorial minimum wage.
- Reduced validity of Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs): LMIAs now have reduced validity, from the previous 18-month maximum down to a 12-month maximum.
- Annual wage reviews: Effective January 1st, 2024, employers will be required to perform annual reviews of their temporary foreign workers’ wages to ensure they align with prevailing wage rates for their given occupation and region of work.
All these extended measures will remain in place until August 30th, 2024, with the provision to adjust them according to labor market and economic conditions as needed.
Addressing Labour Shortages After COVID-19
Canada has made significant progress in addressing historic labor shortages after the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, several sectors continue to experience a persistent lack of workers which cannot be resolved domestically. The unemployment rate remained at 5.5% in September for the last three months despite record levels of immigration. Demand for TFWP has increased by approximately 40% compared to the same time last year, indicating ongoing vacancies.
Understanding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
One of Canada’s primary work permit programs, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), serves as a solution by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to tackle domestic labor shortages through immigration. The TFWP comprises various streams, including those focused on agriculture, live-in caregivers, and high and low-wage foreign workers. This program allows foreign nationals to be employed by Canadian companies to work within the country.
To hire a foreign worker under the TFWP, employers are required to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a formal approval process and documentation used by the Canadian government to evaluate if a local citizen or permanent resident could have been hired for the same role. If the LMIA outcome is positive or neutral, a foreign worker may be employed. However, if the result is negative, the decision is not supported by the LMIA, leading to refusal of the work permit application. It’s important to note that LMIA-backed work permits are connected to a specific employer and industry.
Compliance with the TFWP regulations is crucial for employers. The Canadian government maintains an online database of employers found non-compliant with TFWP standards related to wages, working conditions, and workers’ rights. To ensure the safety of vulnerable workers within the program, a dedicated protection program has been established. Additionally, IRCC has initiated the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) as a means to streamline LMIA procedures for trusted employers with an excellent track record in the program. This further highlights the vital role temporary foreign workers play in filling ongoing job vacancies in Canada.
The extension of special measures in the Temporary Foreign Workforce Solutions Road Map demonstrates Canada’s commitment to addressing labor shortages in key sectors through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, exclusively written and published by IntraSource. The published information is sourced from various trusted platforms, such as news agencies and online media, mainly the Government of Canada and Canadian online media/websites, and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. IRCC’s requirements may change, so consult a lawyer/s and receive professional advice before making decisions or applications.