April 29, 2013

Reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program –

Posted by Fabiola Arevalo - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Ensuring the program is working in the best interest of Canadian workers and businesses

The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Diane Finley and The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney,  announced reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The legislative, regulatory and administrative changes are effective immediately and will:

  • require employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility;
  • temporarily suspend the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process;
  • increase the Government’s authority to suspend and revoke work permits and Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) if the program is being misused;
  • add questions to employer LMO applications to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs;
  • ensure employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce over time through the LMO process;
  • introduce fees for employers for the processing of LMOs and increase the fees for work permits so that the taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the costs; and
  • identify English and French as the only languages that can be used as a job requirement.


“Canada is experiencing significant skills shortages in many sectors and regions, and Canadians must always have first crack at job opportunities when they become available,” said Minister Finley. “The purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is to help fill genuine and acute labour needs and we have been reviewing the program to ensure that goal is met and Canadian workers are never displaced.”

These changes will strengthen and improve the TFWP and ensure that employers make greater efforts to hire Canadians before hiring temporary foreign workers.   As part of the ongoing review of the TFWP, the Harper government will seek input from Canadians on further changes, to ensure that the Program is working in the best interests of Canadian workers and businesses. Cross-Canada consultations will be held over the coming months with businesses, industry and trade organizations, unions and others on additional changes to the TFWP.