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Citizenship and Immigration Canada Moves to Ease Temporary Worker Permits

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As businesses in Western Canada continue to experience shortages of labour, the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, announced changes to make it easier for companies to hire foreign workers.

The main change announced to the federal program for temporary foreign workers is to create regional lists of occupations in high demand—for example 170 jobs in Alberta and 129 in British Columbia. Saskatchewan is also in the process of developing a similar list. The lists include a wide range of employment, from tradespeople to professionals. The program aims to reduce the length of the process by over 25%.

While Ontario was not mentioned in this announcement, Minister Solberg addressed questions about the province’s absence in a letter to the Toronto Star. In the letter he pointed out that under ongoing negotiations for the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Immigration, included is a section to allow similar entry conditions for temporary foreign workers. He also noted continued development of a provincial nominee program for Ontario.


When looking to hire a foreign worker in these high priority occupations, employers will not need to advertise as extensively for the position domestically.

To meet the new requirements for the listed positions, employers have to:

A. Advertise on the Government of Canada’s national Job Bank (or the equivalent in Saskatchewan, Quebec, or the Northwest Territories) for a minimum of 7 calendar days;


B. Demonstrate that they have established on-going recruitment mechanisms already in place (e.g., using recognized job internet sites, unions, professional associations, corporate website, professional journals, newspapers, newsletters).

*Note: For positions classified as skill level C (intermediate occupations) or D (labouring and elemental occupations) employers will have to satisfy both A and B.

Other Measures

Employers still have to fulfill all other requirements of the temporary foreign worker program. However, announced alongside the changes to advertising regulations were two other initiatives to improve information and communication.

The first of these measures will ensure employers are better informed about the process. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be publishing a step-by-step guide written specifically to assist employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers.

The federal government will also be consulting with its provincial counterparts to seek out other means to improve the immigration process. Minister Solberg announced the creation of federal-provincial working groups to identify areas of demand alongside new solutions to ensure needs are met.

Many industry leaders hailed the move. “This change will allow the immigration system to respond better to the business community’s needs,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. The construction industry in particular has been particularly welcoming, feeling the effects of long-term labour shortages.

The Lists

Found here is list of occupations covered under the changes to the regulations. The list for Saskatchewan has yet to be finalized. While there is a great deal of overlap, differences between the lists reflect unique regional labour market needs.