Northern Policy Institute | 22 July 2018

From 2002 to 2012, the number of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in Canada tripled from 101,078 to 338,221 as businesses increasingly made use of the program – sometimes as a way to access cheaper labour.

As a result, the government introduced a series of reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in June 2014. The goal of the overhaul was to ensure that the program was being used for its intended purpose – as a last resort for employers who are unable to fill positions with Canadian workers.

Currently, the TFWP is made up of several sub-programs including the stream for lower-skilled occupations and stream for higher-skilled occupations, as well as the live-in caregiver program and seasonal agricultural workers program. However, from its inception in 1973 up until 2002, the TFWP was only available for high-skill occupations. The addition of the low-skill streams in 2002 resulted in significant growth of the program with more employers participating. As the program grew, so did issues such as the poor treatment of workers.



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