High-Wage and Global Talent Stream candidates through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program are now able to work for three years instead of two in one of a swathe of changes announced Monday to help employers in the grip of a labour shortage crisis.
A further change announced by Employment and Social Development Canada sees the validity of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) doubled from 9 to 18 months. Prior to COVID-19, an LMIA – needed to prove foreign workers are not taking jobs from Canadians – was valid for 6 months.
The final change to happen immediately sees the permanent removal of caps on TFWs in seasonal industries such as fish and seafood processing. Furthermore, seasonal workers are now able to work for 270 days per year, up from 180.
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More changes will also take effect from April 30, including allowing employers in seven industries with labour shortages to hire up to 30 percent of their workforce. The qualifying industries are:
- Food Manufacturing (NAICS 311);
- Wood Product Manufacturing (NAICS 321);
- Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing (NAICS 337);
- Accommodation and Food Services (NAICS 72);
- Construction (NAICS 23);
- Hospitals (NAICS 622); and
- Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (NAICS 623).
Meanwhile, all employers will be allowed to hire up to 20 percent of their workforce through the low-wage stream of the TFWP until further notice. Previously, most employers had a cap pf 10 percent.
In a final change to take effect on April 30, Ottawa will end the policy of automatic LMIA refusal for low-wage occupations in the Accommodation and Food Services and Retail Trade sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6 percent or higher.
Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, said: “As the needs of Canada’s workforce change, we are adjusting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to meet them.
She added: “We’ll continue to work with provinces, territories, and other partners to build the strong, skilled workforce Canada needs to support our growing economy.”
Canada’s job vacancy rate reached a historic peak in the third quarter of 2021, according to Statistics Canada As of November, the highest vacancies were in the following sectors:
- Accommodation and Food Services: 130,070 vacancies
- Health Care and Social Assistance: 119,590 vacancies
- Retail Trade: 103,990 vacancies
- Manufacturing: 81,775 vacancies
In 2021, 5,000 positions were approved through the Global Talent Stream and 23,000 through the High-Wage stream, representing more than a fifth of all approvals.
Up to 60,000 foreign agricultural workers come to Canada each year, accounting for more than 60 percent of those coming through the TFWP.