Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

October 09, 2009 13:54 ET

Minister Kenney Proposes Improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 9, 2009) - The Government of Canada is taking further action to strengthen the protection of temporary foreign workers, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

"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."

Today the Minister announced proposed regulatory amendments to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program include:

  • a more rigorous assessment of the genuineness of the job offer;
  • limits to the length of a worker's stay in Canada before returning home; and
  • a two-year prohibition from hiring a temporary foreign worker for employers found to have provided significantly different wages, working conditions or occupations than promised.

One of the factors in assessing the genuineness of a job offer would be an employer's past compliance with federal or provincial labour laws - which in some cases prohibit the charging of fees, for example. Employers found to be in violation may be refused authorization to hire a foreign worker.

Employers prohibited from hiring a temporary foreign worker for two years will 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." 

A key element of the measures is to limit the length of such workers' stay in Canada before returning home. Under the plan, after a cumulative total of four years in Canada, they would not be eligible to work in Canada for six years.

This reflects the fact that the program is designed to address short-term labour market shortages and is not a solution to long-term labour needs. Exceptions would be allowed under certain circumstances.

Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program helps address temporary labour shortages by allowing employers to hire foreign workers when sufficient numbers of Canadian workers are not readily available.

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