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A Brief on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Joseph Creech



Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is a federal government program started by Employment and Social Development Canada ESDC and IRCC to permit companies to employ temporary foreign workers to meet the Canadian labour market requirements. The program permits Canadian employers to hire talent from abroad to meet labour shortages within the country ensuring that employers in Canada receive first preference for these roles.

The federal government provides a multitude of various programs by which foreign nationals can work in a Canadian company temporarily which are further classified into either the TFWP or IMP. The major difference between these two programs is the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for the TFWP.

What is an LMIA?

To work successfully under the TFWP as an international worker, one is required to attain a positive or neutral LMIA, to receive a Temporary Work Permit.

The LMIA is Canada’s labour market test. Companies are needed to submit an LMIA before hiring an international worker, to regulate whether there will be a positive or negative effect on the labour market or not. An employer must be aware of the requirements that follow the application for an LMIA, including wages, advertisement efforts, exceptions to advertising requirements, the application process, and the waiting period for an LMIA.

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Fulfilling an LMIA is the first step an employer must follow while they are looking to hire a foreign worker under the TFWP.


LMIA Exemptions

There are always exemptions to the requirement for an LMIA. For instance, jobs that do not fall under TFWP as well as offers to foreign nationals who are done through the IMP, do not require an LMIA. There are also Quebec-specific exemptions and variations to the LMIA.

Specialized Applications

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program also features specialized applications, that employers can apply for, if the TFWP’s job comes under specific categories or if their application/hiring comes within the outlined circumstance:
These special circumstances include:
• Academics
• Agricultural Workers
• Caregivers
• Specialized applications are additionally relevant in circumstances where TFWs are:
• Applying for permanent residence (with the help of an employer) through Express Entry;
• Hired as part of the Global Talent Stream (for uniquely skilled workers in ICT or STEM fields);
• Applying for positions in Quebec.

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