Temporary removal of foreign labor restrictions in Alberta

The province seeks to help employers meet their needs and temporarily remove restrictions on foreign labor in Alberta.

As of May 1, 2022, Alberta has removed restrictions on hiring temporary foreign workers. All pending applications, including those submitted before May 1, will include this change.

Prior to this change, the Government of Alberta had a list of “application review refusals”, which included occupations where employers could not submit applications to the Government of Canada to hire temporary foreign workers in the province.

The Government of Canada operates the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and had stopped reviewing TFWP applications for these jobs at the recommendation of the Government of Alberta. These jobs, according to the Alberta government, were facing surplus labor and Alberta was seeking to encourage employers to hire unemployed Alberta residents for these jobs, rather than using foreign labor.

Alberta’s justification for reducing TFWP limits is to support sectors of the provincial economy struggling with labor shortages and to find Canadian workers.

According to the announcement of Statistics Canada, this province has 88,000 job positions to hire new workers. Alberta says it will monitor the impact of this change and, if necessary, make other changes to ensure the TFWP’s continued benefits to its economy.

The purpose of the TFWP is to enable employers in Canada to use foreign workers to fill job vacancies when it is not possible to find Canadian citizens or permanent residents for such jobs. Usually, employers must submit a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) request to the Government of Canada.

After that, the Canadian government will consider whether the employment of foreign labor has a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labor market. Usually, documents and evidence that there is no suitable workforce in Canada for that job must be provided. If the LMIA is confirmed positive or neutral, the foreign worker can continue down this path and submit a work permit application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Canada is facing a labor shortage with 800,000 job vacancies nationwide. This issue has caused the provincial and federal governments to simplify their laws for employers to use more foreign talents and forces. Earlier in April, the Canadian government introduced TFWP laws in response to the country’s low employment rate and high vacancy rate. Canada’s unemployment rate has remained at a record low of 5.3 percent.

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