Associations welcome changes to TFW program

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.

Canada Parliament buildings
(Photo: istock)

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.

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  • This is wrong we need to get our youth to work not bring in more people. The logic is that we need to stop financing the people and force them to work, not enable them to stay home and cry every time they break a finger nail.

    • Other jobs pay as well .When young people who volunteer at homeless shelter see people like me and other homeless disabled truck drivers living a shelter eing heated with 20 lb propane tanks. No electricity other a generator. They think that truck drivers are poorly treated if they get sick or injured I. Ont. Until the trucking industry comes up with a solution for the problem caused by truck drivers being pushed to race the clock and no proper food or medical supplies at gov run shelters. The other ( non profit) shelter do have enough funds to even pay a $8,000 hydro and the costs of upgrade to get the power turned back on
      I can give several examples like the shelter at blyth that had 17 people in it.

  • Many people from non-profit groups lobbying very much to make sure truck were not included or at a limit of 2 per employer in a 12 mo period
    And that any truck drivers or mechanical people coming to Canada would have ho provided for the first 2 years at low cost or free. I and others that help out homeless and disabled truck drivers think we need to provide medical care and temporary housing for sick or injured truck drivers with parking for big trucks and a ride to medical care when required.

  • The TFW program should be ended for trucking. All it does is artificially keep wages low. I thought our governments all loved the free market system. So why side step the free market concept when it comes to drivers.

    • It should be limited to 2 people in 12 months period including mechanical and software development per trucking company.