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CFIB statement on the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program

Toronto, April 4, 2022 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is pleased the federal government is making positive changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program to help many small businesses deal with steep labour shortages. Today’s announcement will allow hard-hit sectors like hospitality greater access to temporary foreign workers.

CFIB’s report, Labour shortages are back with a vengeance, shows more than half of small businesses (55%) are experiencing labour shortages. As a result, CFIB has been calling on government to open up the TFW Program to all sectors and all regions to help address the labour challenges many small businesses are facing. This is particularly true for businesses in hospitality and health services which are more likely to report their employees switched jobs due to the pandemic, leaving gaps that are difficult to fill.

CFIB welcomes today’s news as the TFW program has proven to be one of the most effective solutions in addressing labour shortages with 52% of those using the program saying that it helped alleviate their labour challenges.

CFIB is particularly pleased with the following changes announced today:

  • Removal of the 6% Refusal to Process policy which limited the ability of some businesses to access TFWs for hard-to-fill positions due to the regional unemployment rate being more than 6% in the accommodation, food services and retail trade industries.
  • 30% cap for low-wage employers in certain sectors, 20% cap for all low-wage employers allowing businesses to have a larger proportion of their staff as TFWs.
  • Longer validity for Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) allowing more time for an LMIA to be valid and reducing the potential for duplication of application and costs should an LMIA expire prior to a work permit being issued.   

However, today’s announcement doesn’t address the cost and red tape associated with the LMIA and TFW processes which remain barriers for many small businesses. While the new changes are a step in the right direction, there is still more that could be done to help address labour shortages.

As small businesses are getting back on their feet, these changes will help ensure that many small businesses will have an opportunity to find and hire the staff they need. CFIB will continue to work with government on finding more ways to address ongoing labour challenges.

-    Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President, National Affairs 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB
647-464-2814
public.affairs@cfib.ca

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.