May 9, 2013
Reforms announced to Temporary Foreign Worker Program
The federal government has announced reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

Stemming from the ongoing review of the TFWP,  the Government has introduced legislative, regulatory and administrative changes. These changes will impact all users of the TFWP although at this time the exact impact is unclear. According to the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, it appears that the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) will remain largely unaffected.

Changes to the TFWP will:
  • effective immediately, require employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility;
  • effective immediately, temporarily suspend the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process;
  • increase the Government’s authority to suspend and revoke work permits and Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) if the program is being misused;
  • add questions to employer LMO applications to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs;
  • ensure employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce over time through the LMO process;
  • introduce fees for employers for the processing of LMOs and increase the fees for work permits so that the taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the costs;
  • and identify English and French as the only languages that can be used as a job requirement.

The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and other primary agricultural occupations will be subject to the reform that will increase the Government’s authority to suspend and revoke work permits and LMOs if they are being misused. However, they will be unaffected by the remaining reforms, as there are proven acute labour shortages in this industry and the unfilled jobs are truly temporary.

“Canadians experiencing significant skills shortages in many sectors and regions, and Canadians must always have first crack at job opportunities when they become available,” said Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “The purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is to help fill genuine and acute labour needs and we have been reviewing the program to ensure that goal is met and Canadian workers are never displaced.”
-May, 9, 2013