Canadian companies are struggling with TFW program restrictions

Canadian companies are facing significant difficulties in recruitment. While they are struggling to find qualified candidates in Canada, they are confronted by the limits imposed by the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program when they want to hire a non-Canadian candidates. Consequently, they are outsourcing more and more of their projects.

Canadian companies are suffering from restrictive measures imposed by the federal government regarding temporary foreign workers. This is what a study has pointed up from the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) conducted in December 2013 among 35 companies impacted by the changes to the TFW program introduced by the federal government. Some companies have therefore had to relocate their projects abroad as a result of delays in performing their contracts and the financial losses they have suffered from these new constraints.

This situation is explained by the longer wait times for authorization to hire temporary foreign help, a delay of four weeks in 71% of cases before the suspension of accelerated labour market opinions. Today, 47% of companies surveyed wait over twelve weeks to get a response to their request under the TFW program. Most applications, 85%, are processed in over eight weeks on average. In some cases, the request for opinion can be delayed by over six months.

Loss of credibility and talents

For this reason, 85% of companies surveyed confirmed that the regulatory amendments made to the TFW program had tangible consequences on their operations: additional costs (62%), delay in completing contracts and projects (55%), loss of business opportunities (35%) and relocation of their projects outside Canada in the past few months (30%). Among other negative impacts, they mentioned the loss of talented staff, problems in planning the company’s activities and finally a loss of credibility with their customers. Finally, 53% of entities surveyed believe that the amendments to the TFW program have had a major effect on their international mobility programs.

Companies, professional associations and unions are therefore urging the government to facilitate recruitment of foreign manpower, by shortening the time required for processing opinions. However, the companies surveyed have only very little hope for initiatives to favour greater circulation of workers between provinces or coming from foreign countries in the next federal budget vote. A large proportion of organizations have difficulties finding qualified Canadian manpower and fail to fill senior management positions. This is why 65% of companies surveyed currently have no other recourse than to turn to the TFW program to hire people with the needed profiles that they have been unable to find within the country.
 

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