Government announces help for employers to meet their labour needs

Process launched today allows temporary workers to get back to work quickly

May 12, 2020—Ottawa—With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting almost every sector in Canada, temporary foreign workers and their employers are confronted by new challenges in a rapidly changing job market.

Many temporary workers with employer-specific work permits lost their jobs this spring. While some have left Canada, others are unable to leave due to international travel restrictions or the reduction in flights available. Under existing rules, to change jobs they need to apply and wait for a new work permit to be issued before starting to work at their new job.

At the same time, many employers in sectors that have ongoing labour needs and who provide critical goods and services to Canadians, such as agriculture, agri-food and health care, find themselves with urgent needs for additional employees.

That is why the Government is announcing, effective immediately, a new, temporary policy that will drastically reduce the time it takes for a temporary foreign worker to start a new job.

While this policy is in place, a worker who is already in Canada and has secured a new job offer, typically backed by a labour market test, can get approval to start working in their new job, even while their work permit application is being fully processed. This will cut what can often take 10 weeks or more, down to 10 days or less.

As part of Canada’s whole-of-government approach, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will continue to look for ways to support the economy and protect the health and safety of Canadians during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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