Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Budget 2014

Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to invest $11.0 million over two years and $3.5 million per year ongoing to strengthen the Labour Market Opinion process to ensure Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.

The Government of Canada is committed to reforming the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs. During 2013, the Government implemented several important reforms, including:

  • Introducing a moratorium on accelerated Labour Market Opinions.
  • Requiring employers to pay temporary foreign workers the prevailing wage.
  • Allowing the Government to suspend, revoke or refuse to process Temporary Foreign Worker applications in order to better protect the Canadian labour market.
  • Restricting the use of non-official languages as job requirements.
  • Increasing the length and reach of advertising required by employers to ensure no Canadians are available before they can turn to foreign workers.

The Government also committed that the costs of the Labour Market Opinion process will no longer be absorbed by taxpayers and imposed a user fee of $275 per position to fully recover the cost of processing a temporary foreign worker application under the Labour Market Opinion process.

Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to invest $11.0 million over two years and $3.5 million per year ongoing to further strengthen the Labour Market Opinion process by realigning the application streams to better identify vulnerable temporary foreign workers and improve processing times for certain applications; limiting the use of the program in high-unemployment regions; and ensuring that employers transition to a Canadian workforce through better prevention, detection and response to employer non-compliance. In addition, the Government will introduce reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for those workers who are exempt from the Labour Market Opinion process to ensure the program continues to promote Canada’s economic and labour market interests.

Canada is experiencing significant skills shortages in many sectors and regions, and Canadians must always have first chance at job opportunities when they become available. The purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is to help fill genuine and acute labour needs so that businesses can continue to grow and create more opportunities for Canadians.

About the Program

The purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is to help fill genuine and acute labour needs. The Government has been reviewing the program to ensure that goal is met and that Canadians are never displaced as a result. To strengthen and improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Government is introducing legislative, regulatory and administrative changes that will:

  • effective immediately, require employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility;
  • effective immediately, temporarily suspend the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process;
  • seek to increase the Government’s authority to suspend and revoke Work Permits and Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) if the program is being misused;
  • add questions to employer LMO applications to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs;
  • ensure employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce over time through the LMO process;
  • seek to introduce fees for employers for the processing of LMOs and increase the fees for work permits so that the taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the costs; and
  • identify English and French as the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement.

Primary agricultural occupations will be subject to the reform that will increase the Government’s authority to suspend and revoke Work Permits and LMOs if they are being misused. The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream will be unaffected by the remaining reforms as there continue to be labour shortages in this industry and the unfilled jobs are truly temporary. Since 2006, the Government has pursued much-needed reforms to focus Canada’s immigration system on fuelling economic prosperity for Canada. The Government has placed top priority on attracting immigrants who have the skills and experience our economy needs. The Government is committed to making our immigration system truly fast and flexible in a way that will sustain Canada’s economic growth. As part of this strategy, Economic Action Plan 2013 will reform the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure that it is being used to help fill genuine and acute labour needs and that Canadians are never displaced as a result.

Who Is Eligible

Canadians will benefit from better assurances that they will have first opportunity at available jobs and that the program is not being used to displace Canadian workers. Temporary foreign workers will benefit from guarantees that they will be paid the prevailing wage for their work. The reformed Temporary Foreign Worker Program will also continue to benefit those regions in the country facing acute labour shortages in certain sectors.

Progress to Date

As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government is taking action to reform the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs. The results of these changes will strengthen and improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to support our economic recovery and growth, and ensure that more employers hire Canadians before hiring temporary foreign workers. The comprehensive review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is ongoing. As part of the this review, the Government of Canada will seek input from Canadians on further changes to ensure that the Program is working in the best interests of Canadian workers and businesses. Cross-Canada consultations will be held with businesses, industry and trade organizations, unions and others on additional changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Find out more

For more information, please visit the website of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada or Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

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