Filipino Canadian business owners are welcoming the new changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program of Canada.
The recent surprise announcement allows employers in certain industries to hire low-wage foreign workers.
"It’s welcome news. Matagal na po naming ni lobby ang government na ibalik yung unskilled na TFW program ng Canada. And finally eto na, nakita na nila the dire need of unskilled labor. Yung nagtatrabaho ngayon sa amin, kumbaga nag level up na po sila, nakakuha na ng ibang trabaho. Ang food service sector po talaga ay kulang na kulang ng mga workers," businessman Nelson Rodriguez, who owns and operates almost 40 fast-food restaurants in Alberta, pointed out.
(For a long time, we've been lobbying the government to bring back the unskilled TFW program in Canada. And finally, they saw the dire need for unskilled labor. The ones that work for us, they've leveled up and found jobs. The food service sector really has a shortage of workers.)
Effective April 30, 2022, employers from sectors with demonstrated labor shortages, such as accommodation and food services, will be allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce for low-wage positions for one year through the TFW program. Other employers will be allowed to hire up to 20% of their workforce for low-wage positions.
Changes to the program include an increase in the validity of the Labor Market Impact Assessment to 18 months, removal of the limit to the number of low-wage positions in seasonal industries such as fish and seafood processing, and increase in the duration of the work permit to three years for high-wage and global talent streams workers.
"It will benefit the employers right now because we are really in of workers especially the hotel, the restaurants, hospitality service because nobody right now is working in this kind of industry because most of them are looking for a high paying job," Celso Andrade, Vice President of the Philippine Business Society Of Alberta, noted.
Rodriguez added that with the changes, employers can now better manage their business.
"We can operate normally on normal hours namin instead of nagka-cut pa kami. Hindi po mahihirapan yung mga kasama namin sa trabaho kasi napi-pressure talaga sila kasi kung kulang ang empleyado, syempre na take up yung duties dapat ng isang tao. Eto, pinakaimportante, gusto man naming mag expand, hindi po mangyayari yun kung wala pong magtatrabaho," Rodriguez said.
(We can operate on our normal hours instead of having to cut. There's less pressure on workers who have had to take on additional duties. Most importantly, we weren’t able to expand in the past because we lacked workers.)
The Canadian government asserted that the changes are important measures to help address Canada's current job vacancies across many sectors and occupations and to strengthen Canada's ongoing efforts to rebuild the TFW program.