Feds help ease Western labour shortage

Changes make it easier for employers to hire temporary foreign workers

The federal government has made changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to make it easier for employers in Alberta and British Columbia to hire foreign workers.

Employers can use the program when there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to fill the position.

“The improvements we are announcing today are making it easier, faster, and less costly for employers to hire temporary foreign workers,” said Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Monte Solberg.

The majority of Canada has been facing a labour shortage, but the situation has been especially tight in B.C. and Alberta with the construction and oil and gas booms.

The changes will reduce overall costs to use the program and speed up the process by two to four weeks, said Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada Diane Finley.

“They will effectively help employers having difficulty finding Canadian workers to fill their human resource needs, while continuing to protect the access of Canadian workers to the labour market," she said.

The changes include:

Regional lists of occupations under pressure. These lists will cut the recruitment wait time for employers. Employers in certain regions that face critical labour shortages may now be eligible to follow shorter, simpler and less costly advertising requirements to recruit the workers they need.

Providing better information for employers. A step-by-step guide has been developed specifically for employers that need to hire temporary foreign workers. The guide will be useful in all regions of the country.

•Creating federal provincial working groups. Working groups in Alberta and British Columbia will speed the identification of existing and emerging skill shortages and determine the best ways the foreign worker program can help address these shortages.

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