Updated: Apr 1, 2021
The over 6% unemployment rate in all regions in Canada, brought by COVID-19, has resulted in the Ministerial instructions of Restrictions in place for the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) in the country.
Restrictions don't mean TFWP has been removed, but rather, reduced or may have decreased significantly. What’s the difference? Let's take Merriam and Webster dictionary's definitions
RESTRICT (verb) to cap, confine within limits, whereas,
SUSPEND (verb) to cause a stop temporarily or to set aside or make temporarily inoperative.
How It Impacts Canadians especially Alberta’s Food Services, Accommodation and Retail Industries?
RESTRICTIONS, in effect, means new measures must be followed by the employers who seek to bring in workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program stream. It also means, employers seeking to secure a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) for their staff concerning the specific jobs that are included 24 National Occupation Classification (NOC) applications would be refused for processing.
Here is the link for all the restrictions and refusal for TFWP: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/refusal.html#h2.2.2
Here is the link for the exemptions of TFWP refusal: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/notice-covid-19.html?fbclid=IwAR28PgT1Gz0NOZhxMX4b7q8t_ZlOZKcQCCEE4P5lCEbEfhGHEEqokHrDBDY
However, even before COVID-19, the Government of Alberta had already identified 24 occupational categories under its TFWP “refusal to process list.” Additionally, as ambitiously as they termed it, on June 29, 2020, the province has launched Alberta’s Recovery Plan in response to the unprecedented economic effect of world oil price collapse, global recession and ultimately COVID-19 Pandemic.
A full list of the original 24 Restricted Occupations (NOC) and Positions that will not be processed is in this link: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/refusal.html#LOC
Alberta’s Relaunch Program aims to ensure there are more employment opportunities for Albertans. Although protecting Canadian employment is essential, specific industries in Alberta that rely heavily on temporary foreign workers will be particularly impacted. The Relaunch Program also intends to add dozens of additional occupational categories to the “refusal to process list,” which has a direct adverse effect on the TFWP in Alberta. Thus, the Government of Alberta reduced admissions under the Alberta Immigration Nominee Program from 6,250 permanent residents to 4,000. Here is the link for the full details of Alberta’s Relaunch Program. https://www.alberta.ca/recovery-plan.aspx
Restaurants, hotels, and retail services are the industries gravely affected more so now by the "restrictions" as these jobs regularly suffer labour shortages. Restricting access to the TFWP is already problematic for those businesses and occupations on the "refusal to process" list, even though Alberta Government mentioned that some conditions apply and certain professions will be exempt from these "restrictions,"
The TFWP is jointly and federally operated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and not by the Alberta Government.
Since this announcement was made, most non-profit organizations dealing with temporary foreign workers have been appealing to lift the TFWP Restrictions all over Canada, including those from Alberta. However, Kenney's UCP government expressed that he will be lobbying the federal government to suspend the large sections in the next 12 months, of its temporary foreign worker program, on top of the 24 NOC initially listed.
Diaryo Alberta Society (DAS) works again and collaborates with some immigration non-profit organizations and immigration consultants toward another Virtual Information Workshops/Projects/Programs in the coming months.
The Virtual Info Session is similar to the Migrants Forum that DAS (formerly Diaryo Filipino) spearheaded in which helped significant TFWs to hasten their immigrant application process. DAS aims to bridge the same should the Federal Government succumb to UCP Government's request to suspend TFWP in Alberta.
CCIS will be holding online information on the Pathways to Residency this August 12, 2020.
An Online information session can be arranged for your group by the Alberta Government as well by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting the Calgary or Edmonton office. https://www.alberta.ca/resources-temporary-foreign-workers.aspx