The TFW Program Adopts Policy Changes

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Elevated View Of A Male Manager Shaking Hands With Applicant at Workplace
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com/portfolio/AndreyPopov

OTTAWA — 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 now adjusting the TFW 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.

The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, recently 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 per cent to 20 per cent 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 healthcare sectors.
  • Employers will need to explore every option before applying for an LMIA — including recruiting asylum seekers with valid work permits here in Canada.

“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,” says Boissonnault. “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.”

In addition, as of Jan. 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’re 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. 

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