Changes to the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program

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On 9 October 2009 Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced proposed changes to the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program:

"Temporary foreign workers play an important role in the Canadian economy," the Minister said. "We have a duty to them, employers and all Canadians, to ensure that the program is fair and equitable."

The proposed changes include the following:

  • Tougher standards to show the genuineness of the job offer. This will include making sure that an employer has complied with federal and provincial labour laws. In some cases Canadian law does not allow the charging of fees by employers to workers.

  • Limits to the length of a Canadian work visa. Under the proposals a worker who has already been in Canada for four years would not be eligible to work in Canada for six years.

  • Two-year prohibition on employers hiring temporary foreign worker where employers have provided significantly different wages, working conditions or occupations to those required under the conditions . Employers will also be named on the Citizenship and Immigration website.

"The regulatory changes being proposed today are the result of extensive consultations and address the most significant concerns identified through that process," said Minister Kenney.

"These changes are an important step by our government," said Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley. "They reiterate that our government is committed to improving the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, while ensuring that temporary foreign workers filling a need in sectors where there are still labour shortages are afforded the necessary protections."

The Government has said that the temporary woker program is there to deal with short-term labour market shortages. It is not supposed to be used for employees needed in the long term. There may be exceptions to this in certain circumstances.