Government of Canada extends Workforce Solutions Road Map and introduces new wage requirements under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
October 26, 2023 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
The Government of Canada is supporting Canadian employers and helping them adapt to current economic conditions. Canada is experiencing continued low unemployment rates and while there are some signs that labour shortages are easing, the rebound is inconsistent, and certain sectors, such as hospitals, food manufacturing, construction, and accommodation and food services, are still facing challenges.
In April 2022, the Government introduced the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map to help employers fill job vacancies in the wake of labour shortages. Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault, announced changes to the Road Map, to better reflect current labour market conditions and the economic outlook for the future. These extended measures will be in place until August 30, 2024, and will be reviewed as labour market and economic conditions continue to evolve in the following months. They include:
- continuing to allow employers in seven sectors with demonstrated labour shortages to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program for positions under the provincial or territorial median hourly wage;
- maintaining the maximum duration of employment for positions under the provincial or territorial median hourly wage at up to two years; and
- adjusting the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) validity period from the current 18-month maximum to a maximum of 12-months to better respond to the labour market.
Along with these temporary measures and to better support workers and address concerns of wage suppression, employers will now be required as of January 1, 2024, to annually review temporary foreign workers’ wages to ensure that they reflect increases to prevailing wage rates for their given occupation and region of work. Through periodic wage increases, these reviews will ensure that employers continue to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage level throughout their period of employment.
The TFW Program Workforce Solutions Road Map helps employers respond to current labour market needs, while helping to ensure that Canadian jobs and wages are prioritized. Market conditions will continue to be carefully monitored to ensure that the program adapts to changes in the Canadian economy while protecting temporary foreign workers in Canada.
“Temporary foreign workers are essential to Canada’s economy, and many sectors continue to rely on their contribution when faced with persistent job vacancies amid acute labour shortages. That is why we are extending these temporary measures for an additional 10 months. However, they will be adjusted as the labour market continues to evolve rapidly following Canada’s unprecedented economic recovery. At the same time, we are also introducing permanent new wage requirements that will require employers to review wages annually when prevailing wages go up, in order to avoid wage suppression and ensure that workers’ wages are protected and can grow. Employers must understand that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program should be supporting wage growth in this country, not preventing it.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault
Employers can continue to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program in the following seven sectors: 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 unemployment rate was at 5.5% in September 2023, and has remained unchanged for three consecutive months.
As of October 8, 2023, the program continued to see an increase in demand in the last fiscal year (2023-24), with the number of files created rising by approximately 40% (year to date) compared to the same period last fiscal year.
As of April 2023, the program has transitioned to the LMIA Online Portal as the primary method to submit LMIAs. This shift to an online system will further improve processing and is helping employers address their labour market needs quickly.
The Government recently announced the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP), which will help streamline processes for employers with the highest standards of worker protection. REP will be more responsive to labour market shortages and will reduce the administrative burden for repeat employers who demonstrate a history of program compliance, while ensuring temporary foreign workers are protected.
As part of the Government’s broader commitment to help protect temporary foreign workers from mistreatment and abuse, Budget 2021 committed $49.5 million over three years to implement a new Migrant Worker Support Program to better support temporary foreign workers by addressing power imbalances between employers and workers.
- Government of Canada takes action to improve employer compliance and better protect temporary foreign workers
- Cutting red tape for employers who protect temporary foreign workers
- Government of Canada announces Workforce Solutions Road Map – further changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to address labour shortages across Canada
- Backgrounder: Temporary Foreign Worker Program Workforce Solutions Road Map
- LMIA Online Portal resources
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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