Ottawa extends pandemic-era measures under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
The federal government is extending temporary measures around foreign workers that it launched during the pandemic.
The measures around the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) were designed to respond to labour market needs, according to Carla Qualtrough, the federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. The continued measures, intended to provide greater stability for employers and workers, include:
- permitting employers in seven sectors with demonstrated labour shortages (such as accommodation and food services, construction, and food manufacturing) to hire up to 30 percent of their workforce through the TFWP for low-wage positions;
- keeping the Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) validity period at up to 18 months; and
- maintaining the maximum duration of employment for low-wage positions at up to two years.
These measures will remain in place until Oct.30, 2023. In the meantime, the federal government said it will monitor activities and review policies to “ensure they continue to reflect the latest economic conditions while also protecting workers in Canada.”
It also said work is continuing to implement a Trust Employer Model in 2023. This is designed to help reduce red-tape for repeat employers who meet the highest standards for working and living conditions, and protections, it said.
Additionally, the minister announced that, effective April 3, 2023, the TFWP will begin transitioning to the LMIA Online Portal as the primary method to submit LMIAs. This shift to an online system will further improve processing, helping employers address their labour market needs quickly, the government said.
“We are taking a balanced approach to adjust the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to meet the changing needs of Canada’s workforce and Canadian employers,” said Qualtrough. “Renewing these measures addresses immediate labour shortages, while ensuring Canadians have access to jobs. We’ll continue working with provinces, territories and other partners to build the strong, skilled workforce Canada needs to support our economy.”
- The Canadian labour market remains tighter than before the pandemic and the job vacancy rate reached an historic peak in the third quarter of 2021.
- Canada’s unemployment remains at a near-record low of 5.0 per cent.
- As of March 19, 2023, 56.5% more files have been processed (108,592) this year, compared to the same time period in the previous fiscal year (69,379).
- Despite the significant increase in demand, national average processing times for LMIAs have improved by over 10 days in fiscal year 2022-23. Average LMIA processing times have continued to improve and now sit at about 29 days nationally, down from 40 days at the beginning of this fiscal year.
Source: Government of Canada
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