The Government of Canada has announced that it will be taking steps to reform the country’s temporary foreign worker program to ensure qualified Canadians are not passed up for jobs. This plan, announced in the 2013 budget this past Thursday, has outlined a number of new measures that will be taken to prioritize the hiring of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

“Canada continues to experience major labour and skill shortages in many regions, and Canadians who are seeking jobs should always be first in line for these opportunities,” read one passage of the budget.

In order to help Canadians are given the first chance in finding available jobs, the government will take the following actions:

  • Work with employers to make sure foreign workers are not relied upon in place of qualified Canadians;
  • Increase the recruitment efforts that employers must make before hiring a temporary foreign worker, including increasing the ‘length and reach’ of advertising;
  • Help employers who currently rely on foreign workers to transition to employing a Canadian workforce;
  • Restrict language requirements of foreign workers to only Canada’s official languages (English/French); and
  • Introduce fees for the processing of Labour Market Opinions (LMOs)

Last year, over 200,000 temporary foreign workers entered Canada.