Photo Credit: OntarioColleges

🧑🔎 Government of Canada to Adjust Temporary Measures Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program Workforce Solutions Road Map

Wednesday, 10 April 2024 12:00.PM

The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program experienced a surge in demand due to the post-pandemic economy, low unemployment rates, and record-high job vacancy rates in 2022. To address those labour shortages, the Program adopted a series of policy changes. With changing labour market conditions and declining job vacancies, the Government is adjusting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure the program continues to only be used in cases where there are no workers here in Canada that can fill the necessary role.

On MArch 21, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, announced that some time-limited measures under the TFW Program Workforce Solutions Road Map will not be renewed and will end, earlier than planned, this spring.

Effective May 1, 2024:

• New Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will be valid for six months (a decrease from 12 months) to ensure accurate labour market needs.
• All employers identified in the 2022 Workforce Solutions Road Map will have a reduction from 30% to 20% of their total workforce that can come in through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, under the low wage stream, with an exception for the construction and health care sectors.
• Employers will need to explore every option before applying for an LMIA — including recruiting asylum seekers with valid work permits here in Canada.

In addition, as of January 1, 2024, employers are required to annually review the wages of temporary foreign workers to ensure they reflect increases to prevailing wage rates for their given occupation and region of work. Through wage increases, these reviews will ensure that employers continue to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage level throughout their period of employment. For the vast majority of cases, when wages are reviewed, they are increased for the workers. If not, they remain the same and cannot go down upon review.

The Government of Canada will continue to monitor labour market conditions to ensure that the TFW Program reflects current economic needs, and that Canadians are considered first for job opportunities, while also ensuring that the rights of temporary foreign workers in Canada are protected.

"Today, we announced our intention to reduce Canada's reliance on temporary foreign workers and encourage employers to find the talent they need right here, at home. The time-limited measures we introduced in 2022 were necessary as our labour market was facing unprecedented conditions – but now, as times change, we must ensure our Temporary Foreign Worker Program reflects our current needs."
– The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages

"Our labour market needs are tightening, so should our policies. Today's announcement prioritizes our country's needs to have enough construction workers to build houses, early childhood educators to teach our kids, and health-care workers to treat patients. As we gradually reduce our reliance on temporary foreign workers, we will continue to help employers fill job vacancies while supporting Canadian workers."
– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Quick Facts

• The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is designed to be responsive to changes in the labour market. It helps Canadian employers fill labour and skills shortages on a temporary basis when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.
• The Workforce Solutions Road Map announced in 2022 applied to 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 increased 0.1 percentage points to 5.8% in February 2024. It has held relatively steady in recent months, sitting at 5.8% for three of the past four months.
• Job vacancies fell by 25,400 (-3.6%) to 678,500 in the fourth quarter of 2023, marking the sixth straight quarterly decline from the record high reached in the second quarter of 2022 (983,600).
• Budget 2022 committed to the development of a new foreign labour program for agriculture and fish processing to ensure that Canada's food producers have access to a stable and reliable labour supply and to strengthen worker protections. Canada is ready to work with source countries through the modernization of new Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program bilateral agreements to offer temporary foreign workers and employers new opportunities, through the incorporation of year-round primary agriculture and seasonal fish, seafood, and primary food processing into the program.
• 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.

Associated Links

Government of Canada extends Workforce Solutions Road Map and introduces new wage requirements under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program -
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

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

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