Canada: Temporary Foreign Worker Program changes announced

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program has undergone several changes aimed at increasing access to the program, according to an announcement by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.

Notable changes include the following:

  • Elimination of the four-year cumulative duration rule, effective immediately. This rule limited work for some workers in Canada to four years, specifically, those working in Canada on a Labour Market Impact Assessment-based work permit in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) code B-level occupation.

  • The requirement for low-wage employers to advertise to underrepresented groups in the workforce, such as youth, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people and new arrivals, has been made stricter and clarified. Employers must now advertise to more than one, and up to four, such groups.

  • The exemption on the cap for seasonal industries seeking temporary foreign workers for up to 180 days during 2017 has been extended until December 31, 2017. The cap will remain at 20 percent for employers who accessed the Temporary Foreign Worker Program prior to June 20, 2014, and at 10 percent for new users of the Program after that date.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

The changes outlined above only affect employers that utilise the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, i.e. whose employees are employed under work permits that require Labour Market Impact Assessments. Certain employees may benefit from the changes, while employers hiring low-wage foreign nationals must meet additional advertising requirements.

Employers subject to new requirements should contact their immigration professional to discuss the changes.