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Temporary Foreign Worker Program


In June 2014, the Government of Canada announced significant changes to the rules and procedures surrounding the recruitment and retention of Temporary Foreign Workers.

The information here highlights major information required for swine employers using the TFW Program.

Employers and representatives should consult the Program  for procedures, official rulings and recent updates.


The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is a Canadian program available for use by qualifying employers.  The Temporary Foreign Worker program was designed as a “temporary” program primarily put in place to fill immediate and/or urgent labour needs.  Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) enable employers to source skills and people they require to fill vacant jobs and where Canadian citizens and permanent residents are not readily available.  In addition, foreign workers often bring new skills and new knowledge to help Canada’s economy grow.

On June 20, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) and the Ministry of Economic and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) announced significant reforms to the TFWP.  The changes affected all employers of TFWs in Canada.  Many of the changes announced took effect immediately, with the remainder being phased in over the next 18 months. A copy of “Overhauling the TFWP”: Putting Canadians First document can be downloaded from the ESDC website. The focus of the changes ensures all Canadians have first access and consideration to all jobs in Canada.

It is crucial that employers access the most recent details regarding the TFW program streams and the various directives to identify what the best fit is for their businesses’ human resource strategy. Employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the program on the ESDC website site and regularly update themselves with the latest requirements and changes.

New Focus on Wages
In the 2014 reforms to the TFWP efforts made to reduce access to the TFWP and ensure Canadians come first, saw administration of the program base the position assessment need on wage instead of the National Occupations Classification (NOC). Under the new Labour Market Information Assessment (LMIA), wage levels will now replace the NOC skill system as the main criteria.  Still, the “Prevailing Wage” under the previous Labour Market Opinion (LMO) administration is not being abolished.

TFWs paid below the provincial or territorial median wage will be considered “low-wage” while those jobs that pay at or above will be considered “high-wage".

Median Hourly Wages by Province / Territory (2013)

Province / Territory

Wage ($/hr)

Newfoundland and Labrador

$ 20.19

Prince Edward Island

$ 17.26

Nova Scotia

$ 18.00

New Brunswick

$ 17.79


$ 20.00


$ 21.00


$ 19.00


$ 21.63


$ 24.23

British Columbia

$ 21.79


$ 27.93

Northwest Territories

$ 32.53


$ 29.96


As noted below, there are important distinctions in how ESDC will process LMIA applications depending on whether they are High-Wage or Low-Wage.
TFWP:  Main Categories (2014)

  1. High-wage:  Positions above the provincial/territorial median wage.
  2. Low-wage:  Positions below the provincial/territorial median wage.
  3. Primary Agricultural Stream:  Positions related to on-farm primary agriculture such as general farm workers, nursery and greenhouse workers, feedlot workers, livestock technicians, harvesting labourers including those under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP).
  4. Highest-Demand, Highest-Paid or Shortest-Duration: Positions for in-demand occupations (skilled trades) highly paid occupations (top 10%) or short –duration (120 days or less).
  5. Live-in Caregivers: Positions provide live-in care to children (under 18), elderly (over 65) and persons with disabilities.


Program Administrators & Delivery Contacts

The TFWP is administered jointly through several Government departments and Agencies. They work with employers, representatives, and workers to secure all the required documents and ensure employment processes and standards are in place, offered, and maintained.

Government of Canada

  Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

  • Develop job position information, program polices, directives and requirements for the TFW program.

Service Canada (SC)

  • Deliver ESDC programs, process employer Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications, ensure all necessary requirements are offered and met (such as wages, housing, work safety).
  • Assess employer domestic recruitment efforts and the local impact of hiring a foreign worker.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)

  • Process work visa applications and issue visa documents for eligible workers at processing centers both in and outside of Canada.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

  • Ensures foreign workers meet requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Screen and issue work permits to foreign workers at Canadian border entry points.

Alberta Government

Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training & Labour

Alberta Agriculture & Rural Development

  • Delivery of complementary services for federal programs, assist in recruitment and retention, assist in assessment of AINP candidates, and issue nominations in one pathway to Permanent Residence (PR).

Access Alberta's nominee program below:

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)


RETURN to the main Recruiting Foreign Workers page