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Canadian Gov’t Improves Temporary Foreign Worker Program to Meet Labor Market Needs

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Earlier this month, the Minister for Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map.

According to a press release, the initiative marks an essential step in the continuous effort to adapt and enhance the TFW Program to ensure it can meet the labor market needs of today.

Five significant policy changes will be made in the TFW Program Workforce Solutions Road Map in the coming weeks to address current skills and labor shortages. Starting immediately:

In addressing seasonal peaks, there will no longer be a limit to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries, such as fish and seafood processing, can fill through the TFW Program.

This makes permanent the Seasonal Cap Exemption that has been in place since 2015. In addition, the maximum duration of these positions will be increased from 180 days to 270 days per year.  

Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will be valid for 18 months, an increase from nine months. (Prior to COVID-19, LMIA’s were valid for six months).  

The maximum duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Streams workers will be extended from two years to three years. This extension will help workers access pathways to qualify for permanent residency, enabling them to contribute to our workforce in the long term.

“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 for employers and workers alike. We’ll continue to work with provinces, territories, and other partners to build the strong, skilled workforce Canada needs to support our growing economy, ” said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion.

Effective April 30, the seven sectors with demonstrated labor shortages, such as Accommodation and Food Services, will allow employers to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions for one year.  

All other employers will be allowed to hire up to 20% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions until further notice, an increase from the former 10% cap for many employers.

The Government will end the current policy that automatically refuses LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the Accommodation, Food Services, and Retail Trade sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.

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