The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, has announced the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map. Include in these changes:
- Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) will be valid for 18 months, an increase from 9 months. (Prior to COVID-19, LMIAs were valid for 6 months);
- The maximum duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Streams workers will be extended from two years to three years. This extension will help workers access pathways to qualify for permanent residency, enabling them to contribute to our workforce for the long term;
- To address seasonal peaks, there will no longer be a limit to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries, like fish and seafood processing, can fill through the TFW Program. This makes permanent the Seasonal Cap Exemption that has been in place since 2015. In addition, the maximum duration of these positions will be increased from 180 days to 270 days per year;
- Employers in seven sectors which demonstrated labour shortages, such as Accommodation and Food Services, will be allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions for one year. All other employers will be allowed to hire up to 20% of their workforce through the TFW Program for low-wage positions until further notice – an increase from the former 10% cap for many employers.
- The Government will end the current policy that automatically refuses LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the Accommodation and Food Services and Retail Trade sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) supports the Government’s desire to reform the TFWP and has provided detailed comments to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on this topic, including in CTA’s Pre-Budget submission, which outlined a plan for the Government of Canada to address the critical commercial driver shortage and help secure Canada’s economic recovery by stabilizing the supply chain. Within this, there are details relating to TFWP reform, including seeing the application process streamlined, a recognized employer program introduced, and a seamless path to permanent residency created for our sector.
The changes announced today represent a positive first step when it comes to reforming the TFWP. CTA will continue to work with the Government of Canada to find ways to streamline the program.
CTA’s proposed changes to help with the driver shortage include the priority areas below:
- The Government of Canada approve Trucking HR Canada’s proposal to the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program (SWSP). This proposal focuses on shorter term support to help address barriers for new entrants entering the trucking industry;
- CTA would like to see widely available, and long-term new training funding support established for trucking, like forgivable grants to cover entry level training costs;
- An institutionalized wage subsidy program to support the onboarding/training of new entrants into the industry. This is needed to support post-licensing on-the-job training;
- CTA would like to see the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) application process streamlined, a recognized employer program introduced, and a seamless path to permanent residency created for our sector;
- Establish training tax credits for carriers to support investments in their training programs and onboarding new drivers;
- Establish a national Driver Inc. enforcement campaign to ensure current drivers are not working in the underground economy and that their rights are protected;
- Establishing a federal-provincial heavy truck rest stop infrastructure program to support our commercial drivers.