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Reforms will narrow scope of Temporary Foreign Worker Program, ease short-term entry: CME

Published by Brad Fougere on June 20, 2014

The reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) announced today by Ministers Kenney and Alexander will make it both more complicated and expensive for companies to access workers through the program; but, at the same time, they should help to speed up entry procedures for foreign-based workers with skills in high demand or workers entering Canada on short-term assignments, according to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

“The TFWP is an important program for manufacturers and exporters across the country," said CME President & Chief Executive Jayson Myers. “Companies frequently need to bring workers into Canada from other countries on a temporary basis because they have specific skill sets and practical experience that simply do not exist or cannot be acquired easily in Canada. This is especially the case when manufacturers are planning expansions, installing equipment, need maintenance and repair work done, have international operations, or undertake staff training. At the same time, companies in regions of the country experiencing acute labour shortages rely on the TFWP for workers that simply cannot be sourced in Canada.”

Many of the changes announced today should improve the program, Myers said.  He specifically noted the adoption of median income rather than occupational categories as the basis for eligibility.

“We are particularly pleased that the Government has committed to a ten-day service standard for completing labour-market opinions for highest skilled, highest paid, and shortest-duration candidates,” Myers said. “This should facilitate entry for skilled workers employed on projects, machinery and equipment maintenance and repair, and training programs. I am pleased that the Government has acted on CME’s recommendations.”

Many of the reforms will impose new requirements and restrictions on the way that employers use the program. 

“It will certainly become more onerous and more expensive for companies to bring workers into Canada on a temporary basis,” added Myers. “Employers will have to do more to source workers from within Canada and invest more in training. We will be working with our members across the country to monitor and assess the impacts of these TFWP reforms.”

“At the end of the day, we should not expect the TFWP to solve Canada’s labour shortage problem,” Myers said. “Additional reforms to Canada’s immigration system are urgently needed to transition temporary foreign workers to permanent residency status and make it much easier for companies to find employees with the skill sets they require through our immigration system.”

The full report outlining the program reforms can be read here.

Found in: TFWP CIC

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