CFIB Commends Federal Government on Changes to Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Toronto/Calgary – In light of changes announced yesterday to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is very pleased the federal government is softening some of the harshest edges of the previous government’s changes to the program.

CFIB views the end of the four year rule, in which workers had to leave the country upon completion of four years, as an important first step towards keeping talent in Canada.

“While our economy is struggling, Canada needs to retain all the talent that comes our way,” said Mr. Kelly. “CFIB has always maintained the position that it is a terrible waste to have a foreign worker in Canada for four years building relationships with an employer and a community, only to send them back home, often against their wishes, and replace them with someone new.”

“We are thrilled to hear the government is looking to ‘further develop pathways’ to permanent residency,” said Mr. Kelly. “Small firms I speak to want the ‘Temporary’ taken out of the foreign worker program.”  CFIB has recommended an Introduction to Canada visa that would start foreign workers on a pathway to permanent residency. “As the government considers such a plan, we urge them to ensure it is accessible to workers of all skill levels,” Kelly added.

CFIB is also encouraged by the greater flexibility regarding the cap on temporary foreign workers, and see the 180 day exemption for seasonal industries as a big help for business owners in what is often the difficult task of fulfilling their labour needs. “The artificial caps on the percentage of foreign labour may make sense in parts of Canada, but for smaller businesses in rural and remote parts of Canada, there are few other options. These changes will help,” Kelly added.

“Small business owners across Canada welcome these changes, and hope for more to come in 2017, particularly for employers of lower skilled foreign workers,” concludes Mr. Kelly. “It is terrific to see the federal government make these important changes to help entrepreneurs throughout this country have access to the labour they need.”