This afternoon the Employment and Immigration ministers, Jason Kenney and Chris Alexander, announced significant reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Highlights of the changes include:

  • Separation of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (work permit subject to labour market assessment) and the International Mobility Programs (all other work permits)
  • Replacement of the Labour Market Opinion process with a more rigorous Labour Market Impact Assessment
  • Publication of the names of employers approved under the TFW Program
  • Linking the number of TFWs an employer can hire to the unemployment rate – Effective immediately, a maximum of 30% of a worksite’s employees can be low-wage foreign workers, and will drop to 20% in July 2015, and to 10% by July 2016
  • Higher wage thresholds for TFWs – requiring that they be paid more than Canadian workers
  • Expanded audit powers for Service Canada, the agency that administers the program and severe penalties to employers who break the rules
  • Limiting the number of years some TFWs can remain in Canada from total of four to two years
  • Requirement to re-apply annually for approval to hire low-wage TFWs, instead of every two years
  • LMO fee going up from $275 to $1000 per application
  • Lifting the moratorium on hiring TFWs in the food-services sector
  • Enhanced labour market data collection
  • Increasing the number and scope of employer inspections

Here is a link to the announcement: