Government of Canada implements key measures with the Government of Quebec to address labour shortages  

News release

January 10, 2022             Gatineau, Quebec             Employment and Social Development Canada

As Canada and countries around the world respond to the pandemic, key sectors in the economy continue to need more workers to build a strong workforce. This is particularly true in Quebec where the province continues to experience long-standing workforce recruitment challenges.

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, highlighted important progress made on the implementation of its pilot project with the Government of Quebec. This progress includes the implementation of the increased maximum number of TFWs allowed in low-wage positions that employers in specific sectors can hire, as designated by Quebec. Effective today, those employers can hire up to 20% (an increase of 10% for the majority of them).

This announcement also builds on flexibilities to existing advertising and recruitment requirements for specific in demand occupations, as designated by Quebec, that were implemented on December 6, 2021.

The occupations and sectors selected by Quebec for pilot measures have been identified following consultations with labour market stakeholders part of the Commission des Partenaires du Marché du Travail. This was done to ensure that measures included in this pilot project are representative of labour market needs in the province and do not displace opportunities for Canadian workers.

In the coming months, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec, in consultation with Quebec labour market partners, will also be adding to the list of occupations that are currently benefiting from a simpler process to hire TFWs.

When first announced on August 6, 2021, this pilot project was intended to run until December 31, 2023. On November 30, 2021, the Government of Canada agreed to extend the program until December 31, 2024. At the conclusion of the pilot project, the Government of Canada will evaluate outcomes to help inform its future decisions.

Alongside launching these new pilot measures, ESDC is also working to rebuild the TFW compliance regime to help better protect TFWs in the future. Ongoing activities to strengthen ESDC’s risk-based approach to target higher risk employers include:

  • Enhancing TFW inspection tools and mandatory training to strengthen the quality and timeliness of inspections;
  • Continuing to leverage its tip line service, allowing workers to flag any situation of abuse or misuse of the program in a confidential manner;
  • Continuing to raise employers’ awareness of their obligations to foster compliance with the TFW Program’s conditions; and,
  • Expanding the concierge service with consulates, which helps ESDC to identify concerns that need immediate attention.


“A critical part of Canada’s economic recovery and long-term growth is a strong workforce. That’s why our government is updating the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to help address labour shortages in Quebec immediately. We will always work closely with provinces and territories to meet the needs of employers across the country.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“Quebec employers in the agri-food industry have been hit very hard by the labour shortage. Developed in close collaboration between Ottawa and Quebec, this pilot project will allow businesses to recruit more temporary foreign workers and reduce the pressure on their operations.”


– Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau 

Quick facts

  • In Quebec, the unemployment rate ended the year at 4.6% and remained near the pre-pandemic low of February 2020.

  • Effective October 24, 2021, the COVID-19 interim Refusal to Process policy (where all the economic regions in Canada were considered to have unemployment rates above 6%) was rolled back to the original Refusal to Process policy. Currently, 14 of the 16 economic regions in Quebec are benefiting from this change. 

  • La Commission des Partenaires du Marché du Travail (CMPT) is a provincial consultation body that brings together representatives of employers, the workforce, the education community, community organizations and government agencies, all concerned with improving the functioning of the labour market.

  • In July 2021, the Government of Canada proposed regulations to improve protection of temporary foreign workers, which were pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. 

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Jane Deeks
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough 

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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