In response to the recent labour shortages, the Federal Government of Canada has announced a temporary two-year measure which will extend eligibility to apply for and obtain an Open Work Permit to more family members of temporary foreign workers.
Currently, only spouses of high-skilled temporary foreign workers who hold a work permit valid for 6 months or longer are eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit. Beginning in January 2023, the Federal Government will extend this eligibility to spouses and working-age children of temporary foreign workers of various skill levels.
These temporary measures will be introduced in three phases. As part of Phase 1, spouses and working-age children of temporary foreign workers who have obtained a work permit through the International Mobility Program and the High-Wage Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will be eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit.
As part of Phase 2, following consultation, spouses and working-age children of temporary foreign workers who have obtained a work permit through the Low-Wage LMIA Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will be eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit.
Finally, as part of the third and final phase, spouses and working-age children of agricultural workers may be eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit, following consultation which will assess “operational feasibility”.
The above measures will increase the number of temporary residents who are authorized to work for most employers in Canada. Given that eligible individuals will be issued an Open Work Permit, employers will not be required to financially support an employer-specific work permit application in order to hire these individuals in Canada. Open Work Permits are also advantageous to employers in that the employee is not generally limited to working in one particular role or location, so the options for the employee’s work are much more flexible.
These individuals will also have the opportunity to gain skilled Canadian work experience, which can improve their chances of applying for and obtaining permanent residence. This in turn can allow employers to hire and retain these individuals more easily, with the ultimate possibility of reduced turnover in their workforce.
The Federal Government’s full News Release outlining these temporary measures can be found here.
If you have any questions about this topic, or any questions relating to workplace law generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.