SEAN Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, on Friday announced that Canada is extending work permits to family members of temporary foreign workers.
Expanding the eligibility for work permits to family members accompanying the principal applicant to Canada will help address labour shortages by assisting employers in finding the workers they need.
Prior to this announcement, spouses were only eligible for a work permit if the principal applicant was working in a high-skill occupation. This temporary measure aims to improve the emotional well-being, physical health and financial stability of workers by keeping families together. As a result, it is expected that the worker will better integrate into their overall work environment and community.
Starting in January 2023, through a temporary two-year measure, Canada will expand eligibility to work in Canada to spouses and working-age children through a phased approach for workers at all skill levels. This would include families of workers in health care, trades and hospitality, for example.
As a result of this new approach, it is estimated that family members of more than 200,000 foreign workers could begin working in Canada, offering a greater opportunity for both foreign workers seeking to work in Canada and for employers addressing their labour needs.
The temporary measure will be implemented in three phases to ensure its successful implementation:
* Phase 1 will enable family members of workers coming to Canada through the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program to apply for an open work permit.
* Phase 2 aims to expand the measure to the family members of workers from the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, following consultations.
* Phase 3 will include consultation with agricultural partners and stakeholders to assess operational feasibility for expanding the measure to family members of agricultural workers.
The government said immigration will continue to play a vital role in addressing Canada’s labour shortages and that it will continue to implement policies aimed at helping employers with their staffing needs across all skill levels.
Fraser said: “Everywhere I go, employers across the country continue to identify a lack of workers as their biggest obstacle. Today’s announcement will help employers find the workers they need to fill their labour gaps by expanding work permits to family members at all skill levels, resulting in family members of over 200,000 foreign workers being able to work in Canada. Our government is going to continue helping employers overcome labour shortages, while also supporting the well-being of workers and uniting their families.”
Boissonnault added: “Labour is the number one challenge facing Canada’s tourism sector as we position ourselves for post-pandemic growth. Today, our government is bringing in innovative, family-based solutions to resolve this issue and help our tourism partners grow to meet the global demand for Canadian experiences from coast to coast to coast.”
* The measure will be phased in, beginning with the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program.
* Canada has issued over 645,000 work permits between January and October 2022—nearly four times more than the 163,000 issued over the same period in 2021.