Canada’s White Hot labour market leads Immigration and Tourism ministers to dramatically expand employment opportunities for spouses and working-age children of Canadian foreign workers! - Immigration Lawyer Vancouver, Canada | Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre

BlogCanada’s White Hot labour market leads Immigration and Tourism ministers to dramatically expand employment opportunities for spouses and working-age children of Canadian foreign workers!

7 December 2022

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This past Friday, December 2, 2022, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Sean Fraser, and Tourism Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Randy Boissonnault, introduced a significant expansion of employment opportunities for the spouses and working-age children of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) already in Canada. Recognizing the significant challenges that employers are facing in the current Canadian labour market, the changes introduced will now provide for employment opportunities for the spouses of lower and low skilled workers as well as for their working-age children. This new measure is set to be implemented in January 2023 and will last for a period of two years.

Canada’s unemployment rate sits at a near-historic low of 5.2%. Employers across Canada have been struggling to find workers across all strata of the economy but particularly in the tourism and hospitality sectors which traditionally employ entry level workers. With a view to enhancing employer’s opportunities to fill these positions and get Canada’s post-pandemic economy on track, this announcement dramatically widens the net of potential Canadian employees who have historically been denied the opportunity to work in Canada.

While spouses of TFWs and international students have been able to work in Canada for many years, this opportunity has only been afforded to the spouses of highly skilled workers (employed in NOC level O, A or B occupations) or the spouses of international students who are engaged in employment in these higher skilled occupations. (For more information about the NOC levels, please refer to our recent blog: “Canada’s Changing Occupation Landscape: How the New NOC 2021 System Will Impact Our Immigration Program”).

For the children of TFWs in Canada, this opportunity has rarely existed. For a brief period in 2009/2010, Canada’s immigration department at the time, CIC, introduced a pilot program in Ontario and Alberta allowing the teenage children of skilled TFWs to seek employment in Canada on a limited basis. This pilot program was short lived and never applied across Canada. For TFW parents anxious for their children in Canada to gain the benefit of obtaining work experience at an early age, these announcements come as welcome news.

According to the Ministers’ announcement, this unprecedented expansion of worker eligibility will be launched 2023 in three phases. The phased approach will commence in January with the families of high-wage stream workers in the Temporary Foreign Worker or International Mobility Programs. Subsequently, the second phase will extend the measure to include family members of TFWs in low-wage stream occupations, and the final phase will deal specifically with seasonal agricultural workers and their families, following consultations with agricultural stakeholders to determine the operational feasibility of the measure.

Recognizing the post-pandemic challenges of Canada’s economy and the struggles that Canadian employers are facing with unprecedented labour shortages, Ministers Fraser and Boissonnault’s announcement is welcome news. It is also a further recognition of the talent that immigrants at all levels of society can bring to contribute to Canada’s ultimate economic and cultural success. Congratulations Ministers Fraser and Boissonnault!

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