Advantages of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Addressing the needs of an aging population
The strength of Canada’s economy is closely tied to its labour force, which comprises individuals who contribute through taxes to support essential public services like healthcare. Over the years, the ratio of workers to retirees has been declining, putting strain on available funds for retirees. In 1980, there were approximately 6 workers for every retiree, but by 2015, this ratio had decreased to 4 workers for every retiree. By 2030, when around 5 million Canadians are expected to retire, the ratio is projected to plummet to only 3 workers for every retiree. To maintain the current benefits for retirees, immigrants through programs like the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are crucial in supporting the needs of an aging population. Without their contribution, younger Canadians would have to bear a higher tax burden.
Meeting Canadian labour demands
Numerous Canadian employers are grappling with a shortage of Canadian-born workers to fill various job positions. Industries such as hospitality, healthcare, IT, retail, farming, and others are particularly affected by this labour shortage. Smaller towns and settlements face challenges in attracting both skilled and non-skilled workers. More than 60% of immigrants are selected based on their positive impact on the Canadian economy. The top five occupations for individuals invited to immigrate under the Express Entry program are:
- Software engineers and designers
- Information systems analysts
- Computer programmers
- Financial auditors and accountants
- Advertising, marketing, and public relations professionals.
- The Temporary Foreign Worker Program plays a vital role in meeting the labour needs of these industries and communities.
Record-breaking Canadian work permits.
In 2022, an unprecedented number of Canadian work permits, totalling 608,420, were put into effect. This represents an increase of nearly 200,000 work permits compared to the previous year, which saw only 414,000 permits taking effect. Out of these permits, 221,933 were issued under the Low-wage and High-wage Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, while the remaining permits were distributed among streams such as the PR, LMIA and International Mobility Program (IMP) streams (e.g. Working Holiday Visa).
One of the most significant benefits of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is the two-year employer-specific work permit, which enables employees to work exclusively for the sponsoring employer.
|Number of temporary foreign worker (TFW) positions on positive Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) by Statistics Canada economic region and province/territory|
|3510 – Ottawa||583||590||414||712|
|3515 – Kingston–Pembroke||251||113||204||245|
|3520 – Muskoka–Kawarthas||221||183||272||238|
|3530 – Toronto||5,251||4,283||3,995||5,730|
|3540 – Kitchener–Waterloo–Barrie||1,126||747||867||1,128|
|3550 – Hamilton–Niagara Peninsula||4,074||1,761||2,448||5,966|
|3560 – London||1,500||526||685||1,220|
|3570 – Windsor–Sarnia||2,518||2,159||3,085||4,058|
|3580 – Stratford–Bruce Peninsula||873||347||554||905|
|3590 – Northeast||285||170||151||292|
|3595 – Northwest||68||90||87||161|
|Ontario – Total||16,766||11,005||12,808||20,669|
|4810 – Lethbridge–Medicine Hat||615||297||626||651|
|4820 – Camrose–Drumheller||287||231||222||374|
|4830 – Calgary||1,423||2,059||1,597||1,944|
|4840 – Banff–Jasper–Rocky Mountain House||181||283||451||391|
|4850 – Red Deer||171||382||198||423|
|4860 – Edmonton||1,758||2,177||1,731||2,293|
|4870 – Athabasca–Grande Prairie–Peace River||349||373||344||516|
|4880 – Wood Buffalo–Cold Lake||186||194||171||310|
|Alberta – Total||4,992||6,031||5,364||6,922|
|5910 – Vancouver Island and Coast||889||1,004||898||490|
|5920 – Lower Mainland–Southwest||9,492||8,449||7,236||6,352|
|5930 – Thompson–Okanagan||3,934||1,849||1,490||2,222|
|5940 – Kootenay||355||290||311||207|
|5950 – Cariboo||151||153||134||77|
|5960 – North Coast||154||89||75||39|
|5970 – Nechako||63||48||69||64|
|5980 – Northeast||163||96||131||48|
|British Columbia – Total||15,227||12,105||10,364||9,578|
|Canada – Total||57,873||50,331||44,984||68,745||221,933|
|1. The source for all information in this report is Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) LMIA System.|
|2. Effective February 2018, LMIAs in support of Permanent Residence (PR) are excluded from TFWP statistics, unless reported separately. This may impact statistics reported over time.|