On October 26, 2023, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault, announced some updates to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TWF) Program. Since April 2022, the government has been updating the TFW program in response to the changing labour needs of Canadian employers as they adapt to current labour conditions. These extended measures will be in place until August 30, 2024.
These new measures include:
- Continuing to allow employers in seven sectors with demonstrated labour shortages to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program for positions under the provincial or territorial median hourly wage (these sectors include: Food Manufacturing; Wood Product Manufacturing; Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing; Accommodation and Food Services; Construction; Hospitals; and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities). All other sectors can employ up to 20% of their employer.
- Maintaining the maximum duration of employment for positions under the provincial or territorial median hourly wage at up to two years; and
- Adjusting the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) validity period from the current 18-month maximum to a maximum of 12-months to better respond to the labour market.
Additionally, starting January 1, 2024, Canadian employers will be required to “annually review temporary foreign workers’ wages to ensure that they reflect increases to prevailing wage rates for their given occupation and region of work.” This effort to curtail wage suppression hopes to ensure that TFWs are paid at least the median wage for the province in that occupation and prevent workers from being used to undercut qualified Canadians and permanent residents.
Annual Wages Review
At this time, no official instructions have been provided by ESDC to outline what the procedure is to confirm the wages. However, making changes to employees’ wages is addressed elsewhere in their guidelines, and any instructions for the new annual review will likely follow similar steps.
For the initial review, confirming the prevailing wage is all that is necessary. Proof of the review will need to be added to the files for the original LMIA. (These files need to be kept for 6 years after the LMIA’s completion.)
If the prevailing wage has increased and the employee’s wages need to be adjusted, the change needs to be similarly documented and added to the LMIA files. Whether or not ESDC needs to be notified will depend on how much the wages increase above those stated in the original LMIA.
If any employers need assistance in completing the review, Doherty Fultz Immigration is here to work with employers to help them complete the review and necessary documentation and advise ESDC of any changes, if necessary.