OTTAWA — The federal government has announced changes to its Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program that include an expansion of the hiring provisions for low-wage workers in seven sectors including construction.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough unveiled the changes April 4 as part of a new Temporary Foreign Worker Program Workforce Solutions Road Map strategy.
Starting April 30, construction employers can hire 30 per cent of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions for one year, an increase from 10 per cent.
Effective immediately, the duration of Labour Market Impact Assessments will be temporarily increased from nine to 18 months, and the maximum duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Streams workers will be extended from two years to three years, allowing for permanent residency.
Qualtrough also announced she will convene a TFW Program Ministerial Consultative Roundtable in June to solicit input from worker representatives and other stakeholders on how to improve the program.
“As the needs of Canada’s workforce change, we are adjusting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to meet them,” said Qualtrough in a statement. “Our Workforce Solutions Road Map builds on our progress so far to renew, modernize and improve this program for employers and workers alike.”
The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) subsequently issued a statement praising the measures as positive steps towards filling “desperately needed positions” at construction sites across Canada.
“We’d like to thank the federal government for listening to us and acting,” said PCA president Paul de Jong. “We’ve been pressing hard for months for these changes, and we’re relieved it’s happened. The ability to bolster work crews will help keep construction projects on track, and ease the chronic labour shortage that’s made project planning so difficult.”