Employers and Temporary Workers to Benefit From Family Work Permits to Address Labour Shortages

The Government of Canada announced on December 2, 2022  the extension of work permits to family members of temporary foreign workers. Expanding the eligibility for work permits to family members accompanying the principal applicant to Canada will help address labour shortages by assisting employers in finding the workers they need.

Starting in January 2023, through a temporary 2-year measure, Canada will expand eligibility to work in Canada to spouses and working-age children through a phased approach for workers at all skill levels.

The temporary measure will be implemented in 3 phases to ensure its successful implementation:

  • Phase 1 will enable family members of workers coming to Canada through the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program or the International Mobility Program to apply for an open work permit.
  • Phase 2 aims to expand the measure to the family members of workers from the low-wage stream of the TFW Program, following consultations.
  • Phase 3 will include consultation with agricultural partners and stakeholders to assess operational feasibility for expanding the measure to family members of agricultural workers.

There will be no changes to the TFW Program, these changes will only apply to spouses and working-age children of temporary foreign workers.

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Government of Canada Strengthens Protections for TFWs

On September 26, 2022, The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Sean Fraser announced that new amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Foreign Workers) are now in force. These 13 new regulatory amendments include measures to strengthen protections for TFWs and will enhance the integrity of the TFW Program and the International Mobility Program (IMP) to read more:

Government of Canada strengthens protections for temporary foreign workers as new regulations come into force – Canada.ca

 

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Alberta Temporary Foreign Workers Program

Alberta’s Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Advisory Office helps temporary foreign workers, international students (with work authorization) and employers understand their rights and find solutions to situations involving unfair, unsafe or unhealthy working conditions

Temporary Foreign Workers | Alberta.ca

 

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Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Prairie Region Project Research

Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Prairie Region Project Research

The Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) and the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) jointly commissioned Pivotal Research Inc. (Pivotal Research) to conduct policy research focused on Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) in the Prairie provinces—encompassing the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan—building on the TFW Prairie Region Project to provide AAISA and CCIS with insights and opportunities to strengthen the TFW-serving ecosystem across the Prairie region.

 

>> Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Prairie Region Project

  

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Government of Canada announces Workforce Solutions Road Map – further changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to address labour shortages across Canada

April 4, 2022              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is well underway. In February 2022, Canada added 337,000 jobs, bringing our unemployment rate to 5.5% - the lowest since the start of the pandemic. In fact, Canada’s economic recovery is outpacing the ability of many employers to find workers. To support Canada’s continued economic growth, the Government of Canada is focused on building a strong, resilient workforce in all sectors.

That is why today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map. This initiative marks the next step in an ongoing effort to adjust and improve the TFW Program to ensure it continues to meet the labour market needs of today. Central to this is addressing labour shortages, enhancing worker protections and building a stronger workforce for today and tomorrow, including through pathways to permanent residency. Five key policy changes will be implemented in the coming weeks as part of the TFW Program Workforce Solutions Road Map to respond to current labour and skills shortages. Effective immediately:

  • To address seasonal peaks, there will no longer be a limit to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries, such as fish and seafood processing, can fill through the TFW Program. This makes permanent the Seasonal Cap Exemption that has been in place since 2015.  In addition, the maximum duration of these positions will be increased from 180 days to 270 days per year.
  • Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will be valid for 18 months, an increase from 9 months. (Prior to COVID-19, LMIA’s were valid for 6 months).
  • The maximum duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Streams workers will be extended from two years to three years. This extension will help workers access pathways to qualify for permanent residency, enabling them to contribute to our workforce for the long-term.

Effective April 30:

  • For seven sectors with demonstrated labour shortages, such as Accommodation and Food Services, employers will be allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions for one year.  All other employers will be allowed to hire up to 20% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions until further notice, an increase from the former 10% cap 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 2020, TFWs made up less than 0.4% of the Canadian workforce and will continue to make up a small percentage of our workforce with these changes. The Government will carefully monitor implementation and continually review the policies to ensure they are addressing real labour shortages without displacing Canadian workers. The Government continues to support broader efforts to build a strong Canadian workforce for today and tomorrow. This includes historic investments in jobs and skills training, improving working conditions, and strengthening worker protections. The TFW Program will continue 

In order to ensure that employers across the country can hire TFWs in a timely manner, Service Canada recently implemented a series of measures to increase capacity and expedite the processing of LMIA applications. This includes increasing staffing resources in all regions, including Quebec. Employers are also encouraged to submit their application online to reduce processing time. These changes will not affect the stringent checks undertaken through the process to keep workers safe and protect labour market conditions.

All of these changes are occurring alongside the Government’s ongoing work to strengthen worker protections. Today, Minister Qualtrough also announced that she will convene the inaugural TFW Program Ministerial Consultative Roundtable in June 2022 to hear directly from worker representatives and other stakeholders on how to make the program stronger and more effective for workers, employers and their communities. The focus of the first Roundtable will be on housing accommodations, as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for safe and adequate employer-provided housing for TFWs. This Roundtable builds on working group discussions already underway between federal, provincial and territorial officials on this topic. As part of a ‘What We Heard Report’ released in December 2021, the Government of Canada committed to changes in this area to address immediate health and safety concerns.

ESDC is also working to rebuild the TFW compliance regime to better protect TFWs. Ongoing activities to strengthen ESDC’s risk-based approach to target higher-risk employers include:

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Prairie organizations connect to increase outreach to temporary foreign workers amidst COVID-19 challenges

Prairie organizations connect to increase outreach to temporary foreign workers amidst COVID-19 challenges

Sandra LeBlanc/News Editor

Anthony Huynh recalls one interview in particular in which a temporary foreign worker told him “thank you for talking to me.” 

“I’m honoured, right? But at the same time, it also shows me that it’s not right,” Huynh said. “There needs to be systemic and structural changes.”

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Executive_Summary

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Prairie Region Support Project Phase 1

 About the Project. The Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Prairie Region Support Project included immigrant-sector Service Providing Organizations (SPO’s) and Umbrella Organizations across five project zones (Northern/Central Alberta, Southern Alberta, Manitoba, Northern/Central Saskatchewan, and Southern Saskatchewan) in a collective effort to disseminate information, form local support networks, and mitigate COVID-19-related issues. CCIS played a central role, as the contract holder and fiscal agent but also for overall project management and coordination – as well as being one of the immigrant-serving SPO’s engaged in frontline service delivery. The evaluation was completed by Habitus Collective and included a post-support survey to clients, interview/survey with employers, focus groups and interviews with SPO and Umbrella organization staff, meeting observation, document review, and data analysis.

 

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Most Canadians support permanent immigration pathways for temporary foreign workers

Most Canadians support permanent immigration pathways for temporary foreign workers | Canada Immigration News (cicnews.com)

 

 

The majority of Canadians agree that temporary immigrants are essential to the agricultural sector.

 
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The majority of Canadians want to see temporary workers in the agricultural sector become permanent residents, according to a new survey.

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Government of Canada provides further details on new vaccine requirements

 

From: Transport Canada

News release

October 29, 2021                       Ottawa                Transport Canada       

Requirements effective October 30

As the Government of Canada announced on August 13, travellers in the federally regulated air and rail sectors will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. After extensive consultations, Transport Canada issued the final orders and guidance to airlines and railways to implement the vaccination requirements for travellers which are effective at 3 AM (EDT) October 30, 2021. The vaccination requirements will apply to all travellers 12 years of age plus four months who are:

  • Air passengers flying on domestic, transborder, or international flights departing from certain airports in Canada; and
  • Rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.

Travellers will need to show airlines and railways proof of vaccination. For a short transition period until November 29, 2021, travellers have the option to show proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test in order to board. Airlines and railways will be responsible for confirming the vaccination status of travellers. In the aviation mode, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will also support operators by confirming vaccination status.

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Government of Canada proposes new regulations to improve protection of temporary foreign workers

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News release

July 26, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for further action by the Government of Canada and its partners to improve the protection of temporary foreign workers. Year after year, these workers come to Canada to support our agriculture and agri-food industry and contribute greatly to Canada’s food security. Their hard work and expertise has been instrumental over the years and especially during the pandemic, and they deserve to be safe.

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino, announced proposed new regulations to help prevent the mistreatment or abuse of temporary foreign workers during their stay in Canada. They outlined 14 regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Foreign Workers), with three key objectives:

  1. Improving protections for temporary foreign workers by mandating employers to provide temporary foreign workers with information about their rights in Canada; prohibiting reprisal by employers against workers who come forward with complaints; and, putting into regulation key requirements for all employers to provide reasonable access to health-care services, and for employers to provide health insurance when needed. The proposed changes would also prohibit the charging of recruitment fees to workers, and hold employers accountable for the actions of recruiters in this regard.
  2. Improving the Government’s ability to prevent bad actors from participating in the program by providing authorities that will strengthen the assessment of applications from new employers and deferring the processing of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if non-compliance is suspected.
  3. Strengthening the Government’s ability to effectively conduct inspections. This includes reducing the prescribed timelines and involving third parties (e.g., banks and payroll companies) to provide documents to support inspections.

In addition to today’s announcement, the Government of Canada has launched new features on Job Bank that enable temporary foreign workers to search for jobs from eligible employers. These features will help workers, and the migrant worker organizations that support them, connect with employers through a trusted source.

The pandemic has further highlighted the need to better identify misuse of the program that puts workers in vulnerable situations and to better support workers seeking help. As part of the Government’s strengthened efforts to better support employers and workers for the 2021 season, new data capabilities leveraging payroll data are being deployed to better identify cases of fraud and misrepresentation, and improvements were made to the temporary foreign worker tip line, with the addition of live agents able to offer services in multiple languages. Since launching the enhanced tip line in March, more than 400 callers have been assisted in submitting their report of abuse, referred to other appropriate departments, or had general questions about their rights in Canada answered.

These changes complement other federal government actions introduced this year to better support temporary foreign workers. Budget 2021 announced $49.5 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to support community-based organizations in the provision of migrant worker-centric programs and services, such as on-arrival orientation services and assistance in emergency and at-risk situations, through the new Migrant Worker Support Program. Budget 2021 also announced $54.9 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to increase inspections of employers and ensure temporary foreign workers have appropriate working conditions and wages. Additionally, the Government launched a $35-million Emergency On-Farm Support Fund that supports employers who provide accommodations to upgrade and improve living quarters to ensure workers are safe and healthy.

Quotes

“The health and safety of temporary foreign workers continues to be a key priority for the Government of Canada. While we have made progress, there continues to be gaps. We know that temporary foreign workers need better information about their rights, and better health and safety protections. Workers also need to be protected from reprisal if they come forward with a complaint, and bad actors need to be prevented from participating in the program. Through these enhanced regulatory amendments, the Government is working towards providing stronger worker protection and ensuring greater employer compliance.”
- Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“The Government of Canada takes the safety and dignity of foreign workers very seriously. Everyone deserves a work environment where they are safe and their rights are respected. These amendments will help us further improve worker protection and strengthen our ability to ensure employers follow the rules governing both the International Mobility Program and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.”
- Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco E. L. Mendicino

Quick facts

  • The proposed regulations were pre-published on July 10, 2021 in the Canada Gazette Part 1. Canadians, employers and stakeholders were invited to provide comments within 30 days.   

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CCIS helps Brooks area ag workers through COVID

 

SANDRA M STANWAY
Brooks Bulletin

The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS)through Brooks and County Immigration Society (BCIS)recently handed out 115 food hampers to temporary foreign workers that have been affected by COVID 19.
CCIS was funded by the federal government to support agricultural workers who were affected by the virus and although the program is nearing the end, CCIS continues to help.
“We’re still trying to see what we can continue to support now that the program is done,” said Jessica Juen, program coordinator at CCIS.
She said some people who were working the agricultural sector were laid off because some businesses closed or their hours were reduced.
There are between 800 and 1,000 temporary foreign workers in the area from Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago.
Although the province is expected to substantially open on July 1 because the threshold of 70 per cent of Albertans have received at least one vaccine, less than 50 per cent of city/county residents have been vaccinated.

Source: https://brooksbulletin.com/ccis-helps-brooks-area-ag-workers-through-covid/

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MIGRATION AND PRECARITY

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The number of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in Canada surged for two decades prior to 2014, at which time Canada introduced immigration reforms aimed at curtailing their economic …

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New pathway to permanent residency for over 90,000 essential temporary workers and international graduates

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News release

April 14, 2021—Ottawa—Today, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced an innovative pathway to permanent residence for over 90,000 essential workers and international graduates who are actively contributing to Canada’s economy.

These special public policies will grant permanent status to temporary workers and international graduates who are already in Canada and who possess the skills and experience we need to fight the pandemic and accelerate our economic recovery.

The focus of this new pathway will be on temporary workers employed in our hospitals and long-term care homes and on the frontlines of other essential sectors, as well as international graduates who are driving the economy of tomorrow.

To be eligible, workers must have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience in a health-care profession or another pre-approved essential occupation. International graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last 4 years, and no earlier than January 2017.

Effective May 6, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting applications under the following 3 streams:

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