Updates to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program could streamline the processes used by fleets that regularly use it to source employees – as long as they can prove they meet high standards for working and living conditions, protections, and wages.
While further details are expected in the coming year, the 2022 federal budget committed $29 million over three years to create a Trusted Employer Model that reduces related red tape.
Under the TFW program, foreign nationals can come to Canada on a temporary basis to fill jobs that employers otherwise can’t fill. In some cases, this has included longhaul truck drivers.
Based on 2016 Census data, the Conference Board of Canada estimates that an annual average of 1,516 non-permanent residents worked as truck drivers between 2015 and 2018. This includes drivers working under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and others who hold non-resident work permits.
“Those coming to Canada to work in our sector should be made available to trusted employers,” said Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) president and CEO Stephen Laskowski, welcoming the program enhancement.
Program changes announced earlier in the week included making Labour Market Impact Assessments – the documents that prove the need to use TFWs – valid for 18 months, three times longer than before Covid-19.
In a pre-budget submission, CTA supported the idea of a recognized employer program, a streamlined application process, and a seamless path to permanent residency for TFWs who work in trucking.
The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) association, however, said it was disappointed that the budget didn’t include more solutions, noting that processing times remain too long.
Dennis Darby, CME’s president and CEO, said the budget included measures to stimulate innovation, promote economic growth, and ease supply chain issues, but failed to address labor shortages. “This is a miss,” he said.
“The changes to the TFW program will be of significant help to small businesses struggling to rebuild their workforce,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), referring to changes announced earlier in the week that would allow certain sectors to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the program.
Trucking wasn’t included in that list, though.
Have your say
This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.