Temporary Foreign Worker Program Cancelled

The Temporary Foreign Worker program was a popular program with employers in Canada.  For some employers, it was favoured because it delivered a large number of low cost motivated employees on an expedited basis.  This was the positive aspect of the program.  Unfortunately, the program was also well-liked for less than admirable reasons.

The Temporary Foreign Worker program suffered from a fatal flaw found in human nature.  Greed led too many employers to abuse foreign workers, simply because it was easy to do so and it made some employers a lot of money.  The abuses have been well documented by the media and there is no need to recite the abuses in this column.

The good news is that the Government of Canada has taken steps to ensure that employers in Canada continue to have access to skilled and unskilled employees at the same level of supply as was available prior to the termination of the Temporary Foreign Workers program.

Express Entry

For skilled labour, the Federal and Provincial Governments have instituted strategies to stream line approvals and entry to Canada for foreign workers who desire to take up jobs indefinitely.  The programs and strategies are generally identified as follows:

  •  Skilled Workers (without an offer of employment)
  •  Skilled  Workers (with an offer of employment)
  •  Provincial Nominee Program

These programs will be managed together under one over all strategy to be called “Express Entry”. This new skilled worker immigration strategy will be implemented as of January 1, 2015.

Miller Thomson has a team of lawyers with extensive experience assisting employers access skilled foreign workers on an expedited basis.

What You Can Do

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Honourable Chris Alexander, and his advisors are currently holding meetings across the country to seek stake holder input. The goal is to ensure that the introduction of the Express Entry goes smoothly and that the right workers for the right jobs are expedited to their positions. One way that the Federal Government will help ensure a smooth implementation is to reserve most of the 2015 entries on previous applicants.

It is important to remember that where there is no Canadian available for a particular skilled position, an employer is entitled to quickly bring to Canada an immigrant to fill the job. There is no quota on such immigration.

Other Strategies

For unskilled labour, employers are now being directed to three areas of focus to secure large numbers of motivated employees:

  1. Provincial nomination agreements between Canada and most provinces and territories allow the immigration of labourers;
  2. First Nations initiatives in collaboration with a number of Federal Government Departments will identify sources of labour from under-employed communities;
  3. Labour unions such as Labourers’ International Union of North America (“LIUNA”) have collaborated in the Helmets to Hardhats program and other initiatives to deliver the Canadian resident labourers needed to complete large and small infrastructure projects in Canada on time and under budget.


Under the Express Entry system, Labour Market Impact Assessments will continue to be a primary tool for determining whether an individual will be admitted to work in Canada.

Miller Thomson lawyers are able to assist employers secure Labour Market Impact Assessments and to navigate the entire process efficiently and effectively

With the large increase in immigrants to Canada this year, one can anticipate that the resources of the Government of Canada will be under great strain (the 150,000 new immigrants to Canada so far this year sets a pace that is double that of last year). Furthermore, the Government of Canada plans to accept almost 300,000 new permanent residents to Canada in 2015.This means that the personal assistance for Government that was at one time available for employers and employees is no longer available.