Eased Restrictions for Canada Temporary Foreign Workers Program

To address the labour shortage in Canada, the Canadian Government is easing up the rules for the Temporary Foreign Workers Programs to address labor shortages. 

Canadian foodservice employers can hire up to 30% of their employees through TFWP and some other changes coming in for temporary foreign workers.

Canada has introduced new implementations to make it easier for Canadian employers to access temporary foreign workers.

These measures announced on April 4, are being implemented in response to labor shortages across the country. Canada has a low unemployment rate and high job vacancies at the same time.

One solution to address labor shortages is to temporarily hire foreign workers to fill non-Canadian jobs to do the job. The changes, which take effect for the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP), are designed to help Canada create its own workforce, according to the media release by the government.

Five key developments are expected for TFWP. Effective immediately:

Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIAs) are valid for 18 months, previous they were only valid for 9 months. LMIAs are documents that show the Canadian government that foreign workers working in Canada have no negative impact on the labor market. Before the pandemic, LMIAs were valid for only six months.

It will also extend the maximum working time for high-wage and Global Talent Stream workers from two to three years. This extension will help workers find more pathways to live permanently and allow them to contribute to the Canadian workforce in the long run.

In addition to these measures, exemptions from Seasonal Cap Exemption, which have been in effect since 2015, will be permanent. There is no longer a limit to the number of low-paid positions that employers in seasonal industries can fill through TFWP. The maximum term of these positions will be increased from 180 to 270 days per year.

It will take effect on April 30:

Employers in industries where labor shortages are reported will be allowed to hire up to 30 percent of their workforce for one year in low-paid positions through the TFWP. The seven relevant sectors include food production, wood products, furniture, and related products, housing and food services, construction, hospitals, nursing, and housing facilities. All other employers will be allowed to hire up to 20% of the workforce through the TFW program to low-paid positions until the next notice, this is an increase from the previous 10% limit.

Finally, Canada will end its current policy of automatically rejecting LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the housing and food services, and retail sectors in areas where the unemployment rate is 6% or higher.

Canada’s labor market is tighter than ever before the pandemic. The level of vacancies peaked in the third quarter of 2021. Much of the labor demands that are yet to be met are in low-wage occupations. According to Canadian statistics, in November 2021, the following sectors faced the most vacancies:

Accommodation and food services - 130,070 vacancies

Health and Social Welfare - 119,590 vacancies

Retail - 103,990 vacancies

Production - 81,775 vacancies

Last year, the Temporary Foreign Workers Program approved nearly 5,000 positions in the Global Talent Stream and 23,000 positions in the High-Wage stream. Together, these programs account for about 21 percent of 2021 approved LMIA positions.

Between 50 and 60,000 foreign agricultural workers come to Canada each year to work, accounting for more than 60% of all foreign workers entering Canada under the TFWP.

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