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The government of Canada relaxes temporary foreign worker program rules to deal with labour shortages

04 April, 2022

The government of Canada relaxes temporary foreign worker program rules to deal with labour shortages

The Government of Canada has announced measures to make it easier for Canadian employers to access temporary foreign workers.

These measures, announced today, come in response to a labour shortage across the country, even with the low unemployment rate.

 The changes taking effect to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) are intended to help Canada build its workforce, as outlined in the government communiqué.

There are five major changes coming to TFWP.

With immediate start:

> Labor Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will be valid for 18 months instead of nine (prior to the pandemic, they were valid for only 6 months). LMIAs are documents that demonstrate to the Canadian government that a foreign worker employed in Canada will not have a negative effect on the labour market. With this document, the worker can proceed with his work permit application.

> Additionally, the maximum duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Stream workers will be extended from two to three years. This extension will help workers qualify for more pathways to permanent residency, allowing them to contribute to the Canadian workforce in the long term.

> The Seasonal Limit exemption, which has been in effect since 2015, will become permanent. There will no longer be a limit to the number of low-paying positions employers in seasonal industries can fill through the TFWP. The maximum duration of these positions will be increased from 180 days to 270 days per year.

Starting April 30th:

> Employers in industries with proven labour shortages will be able to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFWP for low-paying positions for one year. The seven eligible sectors include food manufacturing, wood product manufacturing, furniture and related products manufacturing, lodging and food services, construction, hospitals, and residential and nursing care facilities.

All other employers will be able to hire up to 20% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-paying positions until further notice, an increase from the former 10% limit for many employers.

> Finally, Canada will end the current policy that automatically declines LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the lodging and food and retail sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or more.

Last year, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program approved nearly 5,000 positions on the Global Talent Stream and 23,000 positions on the High-Wage stream. Together, these programs represent about 21% of all approved LMIA positions for 2021.

About 50,000 to 60,000 foreign agricultural workers come to work in Canada each year, representing more than 60% of all foreign workers entering Canada under the TFWP.

For more information, please contact our team.