Organizations that rely on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will soon face further restrictions after the government confirmed changes to the popular scheme earlier this week.
"The changes we are making … will help ensure that Canadians have the first opportunity at available jobs, that vulnerable workers are protected, and that the Canadian economy can continue to grow and thrive,” said Patty Hajdu, minister of employment, workforce development and labour.
Under the changes, employers will be required to do more to recruit Canadians – particularly those who are typically under-represented in the workforce, like youth, newcomers, women, Indigenous people, and people with disabilities
On-site inspections are also set to increase for organizations that employ foreign workers as the government doubles down on its commitment to “better protect vulnerable foreign workers.”
While employers will face additional challenges in the short term, the government has promised to cooperate with companies and unions to create future solutions.
“[We] will work with industry sectors that are heavy users of the program, to create Canadian workforce development strategies in partnership with employers, organized labour, and other stakeholders,” Employment and Social Development Canada said in a statement.
About 79,000 work permits issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada became effective in 2016 through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program – a reduction of 33.5 per cent over the peak in the past five years.