April 14, 2022

Welcomed Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program – Workforce Solutions Road Map

Posted by Lijing Cao - Bellissimo Law Group PC

On 4 April 2022, the Canadian government announced the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map, with five key policy changes that aim to address current labour shortages and further the government’s ongoing efforts to adjust and improve the TFW Program.[1]

Effective immediately:

  • The Seasonal Cap Exemption is made permanent. There will be no limits to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries, such as fish and seafood processing, can fill through the TFW Program. Additionally, the maximum employment duration of these positions will be permanently increased from 180 days to 270 days per year.
  • Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will be valid for 18 months, an increase from 9 months. Prior to COVID-19, LMIAs were only valid for 6 months.
  • The maximum employment duration for LMIAs processed under High-Wage and Global Talent Streams will be extended from two years to three years. This change will not only reduce the administrative burden of employers utilizing the TFW Program, but also help foreign workers access pathways to qualify for permanent residency.

 Effective April 30:

  • Employers in seven sectors will be allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions for one year. These seven sectors include Food Manufacturing, Wood Product Manufacturing, Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing, Accommodation and Food Services, Construction, Hospitals, and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities. All other employers will be able to hire up to 20% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions until further notice, an increase from the former 10% cap.
  • The Government will end the current policy that automatically refuses LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the Accommodation, Food Services, and Retail Trade sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.

Considering the lengthy process of LMIA applications, Service Canada also implemented measures to expedite the processing of LMIA applications so that employers can hire foreign workers in a timely manner. These measures include increasing staffing resources, as well as encouraging submission of LMIA applications through online portal. Nonetheless, stringent checks undertaken through the LMIA process will not be affected to protect temporary foreign workers and labour market conditions.

Thank you for reading. This article is prepared for information only and it is not intended to be legal advice. If you need assistance in navigating the LMIA process, please consult one of our team members.