As of May 1, 2022, Alberta has lifted restrictions on hiring temporary foreign workers in the province.
The Temporary Foreign Worker (Program) is designed to allow Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary jobs when qualified Canadians are not available.
As a response to COVID-19, the government of Alberta had a “refusal to process” list with occupations for which employers could not submit applications. They wanted to encourage employers to hire unemployed Albertans instead.
Alberta has now decided to loosen these restrictions ‘to help employers meet their workforce needs. In a provincial statement, they said, “This supports sectors of Alberta’s economy that are experiencing labour shortages and struggling to fill available positions with Canadian workers.”
According to Statistics Canada, Alberta had over 88,000 job vacancies in February. The government of Alberta plans to help the economy through the TFWP.
How Does It Work?
An employer must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire a temporary foreign worker. The government will then assess the employment of the worker based on proof that there are no Canadians or permanent residents to do the same job. If they get a positive or neutral LMIA the foreign worker can then submit a work permit application to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
There are 4 different programs that you need an LMIA for:
High-Wage Workers: Those who earn at or above the median hourly wage for a given occupation.
Low-Wage Workers: Those who earn below the provincial median hourly wage.
Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program: Employers hire TFWs from participating countries for a maximum of 8 months and they offer the workers a minimum of 240 hours of work within a period of 6 weeks or less.
Agricultural Stream: Workers hired for production in specific commodity sectors and the activity must be related to on-farm primary agriculture. These employers can request an employment duration of up to 2 years.
Canada is experiencing labour shortages across the country, so the governments are loosening regulations on hiring foreign talent. Canada’s unemployment is at 5.3%, the lowest on record, but there are over 800,000 job vacancies. The government hopes that by easing restrictions they can supplement the labour market.
Levy, D. (2022, May 3). Alberta lifts restrictions on temporary foreign workers. Retrieved from CIC News: https://www.cicnews.com/2022/05/alberta-lifts-restrictions-on-temporary-foreign-workers-0525077.html#gs.z81suc
Singer, C. R. (2022, May 3). Alberta Lifts Temporary Worker Restrictions To Help Employers Meet Labour Needs. Retrieved from Immigration.ca: https://www.immigration.ca/alberta-lifts-temporary-worker-restrictions-to-help-employers-meet-labour-needs