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The Most Recent Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Changes

As usual under the current Conservative government, the federal budget announced on February 11, 2014 included new limits to be placed on the TFWP (Temporary Foreign Worker Program). In the budget the government announced that it plans to limit and enforce the use of Temporary Foreign Workers by Canadian businesses.

“Unveiling important immigration and foreign worker legislation in a federal budget is objectionable by any democratic legal standard.  Changes in law should be born from democratic discussion through a consultative process.  Ongoing fundamental changes in federal law are occurring through the federal budget announcements at an unprecedented rate under this government.  In my opinion this is contrary to the rule of law in a free and democratic society and an abuse of the legislative process,” states Jacqueline Bart.
The government proposed a budget of $11 million dollars for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program over two years, and $3.5 million per year which is intended to achieve the following objectives:
o    Ensuring better employer compliance with government terms for the program; and
o    Making changes to the stream of applicants who are exempt from the Employment and Social Development Canada’s Labour Market Opinion process.

The budget indicates that these changes are designed to “strengthen the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process to ensure Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.”

The government’s heavy-handed approach to the TFWP is creating chaos for Canadian businesses who are trying to compete internationally. Processing wait times are currently exceeding 5 months (including advertising) and a newly-instituted compliance review process is resulting in high level workers being unable to obtain timely work permit renewals.  “The system is not working for Canadian businesses,” states Jacqueline Bart.  “Unless the government starts investing in improving program training to ensure consistency in program decisions, government office policies and processing times, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will become increasingly ineffective in meeting the genuine needs of Canadian business.”