Temporary Foreign Workers Program to be Replaced

Temporary Foreign Workers ProgramAt the start of the month, a new report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) called for the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) to be replaced with a new program designed to address permanent labor shortages. 

Introduction to Canada Visa

CFIB have proposed a new type of visa, named Introduction to Canada Visa that would aim to kill two birds with one stone, by;

  • Addressing critical labour shortages for small Canadian businesses and
  • Paving the way for foreign workers to attain permanent residency status

Here’s what CFIB president Dan Kelly had to say about the proposed new visa: “Canada was built by people who decided to take a chance, come here, and work hard to make new life for themselves and their families. The Introduction to Canada Visa would open up those opportunities once again. You shouldn’t need a PhD to live the Canadian dream.”

Myths and Misconceptions About the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP)

The new visa certainly sounds more inclusive, and would help to address some of the controversy about the recent ill-advised changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which CFIB claim were made mainly due to myths and misconceptions about the scheme.

The changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program were seen to have had a negative impact on the labour market as a whole, cutting off a crucial lifeline for a large amount of employers. Many others have essentially been barred from the program altogether, including employers in the retail, restaurant and hotel sectors.

Kelly continued: “One of the legitimate criticisms of the TFWP is that it was often employing temporary workers to fill permanent labour market needs. Given the massive cost of turn-over, small businesses would much rather hire someone who is not temporary, but the permanent immigration system largely prohibits anyone with more junior skill sets. We need workers at all skill levels, including for entry-level jobs, and that need isn’t going away.”

More Opportunities

What can we expect from this potential new visa? Apparently, foreign workers in entry-level categories would be provided with an opportunity to be employed for two years as a stepping stone towards becoming a permanent resident. It would also mean the following:

  • The employer in question would have to employ one Canadian on same wage level to qualify for a worker via the new visa.
  • The employee would be able to switch employers if commitments were not fulfilled, although they would not be able to change regions or sectors.
  • The new visa would be subject to strict enforcement (national and provincial)

The Introduction to Canada Visa is not the only recommendation from CFIB, and others include allowing current applicants for permanent residency the option to remain in Canada until the processing has been completed, allowing for more flexibility for employers, and rethinking the new $1,000 fee.

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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