Backgrounder: Temporary Foreign Worker Program Workforce Solutions Road Map
The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map contains important measures to help address current job vacancies across many sectors and occupations, better protect temporary foreign workers, and further the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to rebuild the TFW Program.
- Making the Seasonal Cap Exemption permanent
The Seasonal Cap Exemption currently provides employers in seasonal industries, such as fish and seafood processing, with access to foreign workers beyond the low-wage cap for an employment duration of up to 180 calendar days per year to address seasonal peaks. This will be permanently increased to up to 270 days. This will ensure predictability for employers who hire foreign workers and minimize the total number of workers that employers need to hire under the program.
- Longer validity for Labour Market Impact Assessments
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada needs to obtain before the foreign national can apply for a work permit through the TFW Program. The intent of the LMIA is to ensure that the entry of a foreign worker will not have an adverse effect on the Canadian labour market and that the employer and job offer are legitimate
The existing nine-month maximum validity for LMIAs will be temporarily increased to eighteen months. This will help employers better manage their human resources needs and bring in foreign workers in a timely manner.
- Employment duration for High-Wage stream and Global Talent Stream workers
LMIAs outline the expected duration of a foreign worker’s employment, and the maximum duration varies by program stream. When a foreign worker is approved for a work permit, the end date is typically set to align with the employment duration specified in the LMIA. LMIAs under the High-Wage and Global Talent Streams currently have a two-year maximum employment duration. Starting on April 4, 2022, the employment duration for LMIAs processed under these streams will be extended to a maximum of three years. Allowing employers to hire a foreign worker for a longer period will reduce their administrative burden and help with workforce planning. Importantly, this change will also help workers access pathways to qualify for permanent residency.
Effective April 30:
- 30% cap for low-wage employers in certain sectors, 20% cap for all low-wage employers
Most employers are limited to a 10% cap on the proportion of low-wage temporary foreign workers they can hire. The Government of Canada will increase this cap so that 20% of full-time equivalent positions at an employer’s worksite will be allowed through the TFW Program’s Low-Wage Stream until further notice. An increase to 20% for all employers across the country will level the playing field and address current job vacancies across many sectors and occupations.
For seven sectors with demonstrated labour shortages in low-wage positions—including Food Manufacturing (NAICS 311); Wood Product Manufacturing (NAICS 321); Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing (NAICS 337); Accommodation and Food Services (NAICS 72); Construction (NAICS 23); Hospitals (NAICS 622); and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (NAICS 623)—the cap would be raised to 30% for one year.
The Government will carefully monitor implementation and continually review the policies to ensure they are addressing real labour shortages without displacing or negatively affecting Canadian workers or working conditions.
- Removal of the 6% Refusal to Process policy
At present, the TFW Program refuses to process LMIA applications for certain low-wage occupations in the Accommodation and Food Services, and Retail Trade sectors in economic regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher. The Government will end this policy on April 30, 2022. To ensure Canadians still are considered first for employment opportunities, the LMIAs must still demonstrate the clear need for foreign workers. Removing the automatic refusal to process will help employers in regions where severe labour shortages have persisted, despite an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.
As early as June 2022:
- TFW Program Ministerial Consultative Roundtable
In December 2021, the Government announced a new ministerial roundtable to solicit ongoing input on how to make the TFW Program stronger and more effective for workers, employers and their communities. The TFW Program Ministerial Consultative Forum will hold its first meeting this June 2022, with a focus on housing standards. Minister Qualtrough will chair these meetings, which will be held twice annually for a period of three years. Each meeting will focus on a different topic, and will allow stakeholders the opportunity to provide their feedback on how to make the program stronger and more effective for workers, employers and their communities.
There will be up to 25 members of the roundtable, including representatives from stakeholders, employers, labour organizations and migrant support worker organizations that bring a diversity of views and regional perspectives. More details will be available in the near future.
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