Introduction
Five key policy changes

Comment


Introduction

On 4 April 2022, the Canadian government announced the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) Workforce Solutions Road Map, which aims to improve the TFWP for both employers and foreign workers.

The government is focused on helping employers build a strong, resilient workforce in all sectors. In February 2022, Canada added 337,000 jobs. However, employers are struggling to attract talent to match the pace of the country's economic recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the road map, Canada will implement five key policy changes in April 2022 to address labour shortages, enhance worker protection and build a stronger workforce.

Carla Qualtrough, the minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion noted:

As the needs of Canada's workforce change, we are adjusting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to meet them. Our Workforce Solutions Road Map builds on our progress so far to renew, modernize, and improve this program for employers and workers alike.

Five key policy changes

The roadmap will ensure that:

  • the maximum work permit duration for high-wage and global talent streams (GTS) workers is increased from two years to three years. This extension will allow workers to qualify for permanent residency, enabling them to contribute to the workforce for the long-term;
  • labour market impact assessments (LMIA) will be valid for 18 months, an increase from nine months. Prior to the pandemic, LMIAs were only valid for six months; and
  • there will be no limit to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries (eg, fish and seafood processing) can fill through the TFWP. The maximum work permit duration for these positions will also be increased from 180 days to 270 days per year, thus making permanent the seasonal cap exemption that has been in place since 2015.

These changes are already in effect. The following changes will come into effect on 30 April 2022:

  • Employers in sectors with demonstrated labour shortages for low-wage positions (eg, accommodation and food services) will be allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFWP for one year. All other employers will be allowed to hire up to 20%, an increase of 10% for many employers.
  • The government will end the current policy that automatically refuses LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the accommodation and food services and retail trade sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.

In order to ensure that employers across the country can hire foreign workers in a timely manner, Service Canada has also recently implemented a series of measures to increase capacity and expedite the processing of LMIA applications by improving service standards and increasing staffing resources across all regions.

Comment

Under the high-wage and GTS programmes, LMIA approvals will now be issued for three years instead of two years. This will result in a decrease in frequently returning to the programme for renewals while also providing predictability for both employers and employees.

Previously, LMIA approvals were only valid for nine months, meaning employers would have to begin the process again to renew their employees' work authorisation or use the LMIA for another candidate. LMIAs are now valid for 18 months, giving employers greater time and flexibility to find the right candidates for their business.

Employers leveraging the low-wage programme will be able to retain their employees for a longer duration, allowing them to address labour shortages in critical industries and plan ahead.

For further information on this topic please contact Aamir Talati, Amira Zubairi or Graeme Black at KPMG Law by telephone (+1 416 777 8000‚Äč) or email ([email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The KPMG Law website can be accessed at www.kpmg.com.