Bryan May, M.P.
Chair, Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
House of Commons
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) of the House of Commons, we are pleased to respond on behalf of the Government of Canada to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in its report entitled Temporary Foreign Worker Program, tabled in the House of Commons on September 19, 2016.
The Government thanks the members of the Standing Committee (the Committee) for their valuable study examining the current Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program and providing meaningful recommendations to the Government.
The Government also thanks the many witnesses, including representatives of federal departments, labour organizations, advocacy groups, industry associations, business representatives, as well as temporary foreign workers, who appeared before the Committee or provided written briefs for consideration. Their insights on the TFW Program, including the impact of recent program reforms, are both informative and insightful.
The Government is committed to making the TFW Program work for all workers, for businesses, and for the Canadian economy.
As announced on December 13, 2016, the Government has already begun its work to improve the Program. In particular:
- introducing stronger recruitment requirements, where appropriate, for low-wage employers so that Canadian workers traditionally under-represented in the labour market (youth, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and newcomers) have better access to available job opportunities;
- eliminating the four-year cumulative duration rule, which has caused unnecessary hardship and instability for both workers and employers;
- extending the exemption on the cap for seasonal industries for 2017; and,
- committing to further developing pathways to permanence for foreign workers.
The Government intends to announce further details on changes to the Program in Budget 2017.
As we have said before, the Government’s objective is to make the Program better serves the needs of workers and employers alike. We would welcome an opportunity to present the Program’s path forward to the Committee at an appropriate time after next steps are confirmed.
Hon. Patricia A. Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Hon. Ahmed Hussen, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship