Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) will help employers address growing labour shortages more efficiently, accelerating Canada’s economic recovery according to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC).
The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, announced earlier this week that the Harper government would expedite the approval processes for business with short-term skilled-labour needs. Employers can now receive an Accelerated-Labour Market Opinion (A-LMO) within 10 business days to hire temporary foreign workers in highly-skill occupations.
“The new changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are a rational response to evolving labour market needs,” said David Goldstein, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. “This is an important modernization that will reduce red tape and help tourism businesses address labour market shortages. It is also in line with one of the key tenets of the Federal Tourism Strategy, which involves fostering an adequate supply of skills and labour to enhance visitor experiences through quality service and hospitality.”
Canada’s tourism sector is facing a potentially severe labour shortage over the next 10-15 years as Canada’s population ages and birth rates decline. The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council estimates that by 2025, the sector’s supply of labour could fall short of potential demand by an estimated 219,000 jobs.
Although the changes currently only apply to highly-skilled workers, they serve as a strong first step in addressing Canada’s persistent labour shortages, and TIAC is optimistic that this program might be expanded to apply to other categories of foreign workers.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis to fill immediate skills and labour shortages when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.
In most cases, employers who wish to hire temporary foreign workers must first apply to Service Canada for a Labour Market Opinion. The opinion assesses the impact the foreign worker would have on Canada’s labour market or, in other words, how the offer of employment would likely affect Canadian jobs. An employer needs a positive Labour Market Opinion to hire a temporary foreign worker.
On April 25, the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, announced that employers with a strong track record will now receive an Accelerated-Labour Market Opinion (A-LMO) within 10 business days to hire temporary foreign workers in high-skill occupations, rather than the previous 12-14 week waiting period.