Ottawa, April 5, 2022 – Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) welcomes the announcement of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map by the Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough to address labour shortages across Canada.
Removal of the limit to the number of low-wage TFW positions and the increase of maximum duration of TFW positions for employers in seasonal industries, increase of the validity of Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA’s) up to 18 months, the extension of the maximum duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Streams workers to three years, and the increase of the 10 per cent cap on the number of TWF in low-wage positions to 20 per cent, and even to 30 per cent in certain sectors will support Canadian manufacturers to address labour and skills shortages in the short term.
“CME had long called for the improvement of TFW, and we thank to the government for taking the immediate and necessary actions,” said Dennis Darby, CME President and CEO. “While this is a positive trajectory for Canadian manufacturers, we still have work to do.”
In a recent survey of manufacturers across Canada by CME, more than 80 per cent of respondents stated that they face immediate labour and skills shortages, up significantly from 60 per cent in 2020. The survey revealed that most manufacturers are struggling to fill general labour and assembly as well as skilled production (welders, machinists, operators, etc.) positions.
“After the agricultural sector, it is the manufacturing sector that makes the greatest use of temporary foreign workers. That said, there are currently more than 81,000 job vacancies in the manufacturing sector. These are good, high paying jobs that are going unfilled. We need the federal government to address application backlogs, to streamline the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by adopting a trusted employer system, and to increase the intake of economic class immigrants,” added Darby.
Canadian manufacturers will keep working with the government to address labor and skills challenges as the pandemic has shown the importance of manufacturing to Canada.
“We want to strengthen our sector and see it grow so it can continue to drive our economy. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with government to achieve that goal,” concluded Darby.
- The manufacturing sector represents more than 10% of Canada’s gross domestic product.
- Manufacturers directly support more than 1.7 million jobs in Canada.
- The total manufacturing sales in 2019 surpassed $685 B.
- The Canadian labour market is tighter than before the pandemic and the job vacancy rate reached an historic peak in the third quarter of 2021 in manufacturing with 81,775 vacancies.
- In 2020, manufacturing industry had 11,499 positions hold by TFW, which made 9.3 per cent of total positions held by temporary foreign workers in Canada. In 2019, this number was 7 per cent of the total.
- CME`s 2021 Business Outlook and Labour & Skills Survey reveals 77 per cent of respondents say attracting and retaining a quality workforce is their biggest challenge.
- More than 80 per cent of respondents say they face labour and skills shortages, up significantly from 60 per cent in the 2020 CME Management Issues Survey.
- Labour shortages are most acute in Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and British Columbia.
- 42 per cent of manufacturers say they lost opportunities or paid penalties due to labour and skills shortages over the past two years.
- Labour and skills shortages are so severe today that almost 1 in 5 manufacturers are considering moving some or all their production outside Canada.
About Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is Canada’s largest trade and industry association, and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada.
CME directly represents more than 10,000 leading companies nationwide. More than 85 per cent of CME’s members are small and medium-sized enterprises. As Canada’s leading business network, CME – through various initiatives, including the establishment of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition – touches more than 100,000 companies from coast to coast, engaged in manufacturing, global business, and service-related industries.
CME’s membership network accounts for an estimated 82 per cent of Canadian manufacturing production and 90 per cent of all goods and services exports.