The Pandemic Is Officially Over, or Is It?

Today, the Minister of Immigration Refugee Protection Canada (IRCC) announced that the federal government will aim to shrink the number of temporary residents in Canada over the next three years.  Temporary residents make up 6.2 percent of Canada’s population in 2023 and the government will seek to reduce that share to 5 percent by 2027.  IRCC has already announced changes to the foreign student program and now they are targeting the temporary workers.

Starting this fall, the Minister will for the first time include temporary residents in its annual immigration levels plan.  The premise is that the labour market has tightened since the pandemic ended and the Minister announced that Canadians and Permanent Residents are eager to return to work.  There was no mention of an aging work force or persons retiring earlier than in the past.  There was also no mention of temporary workers that do not relocate to Canada but cross the border to work on a regular basis, and whether these workers will be included in this reduction.  Further, it is unclear how future global events and humanitarian situations will factor into the levels plan for foreign workers.  In recent years special programs have been offered to facilitate persons fleeing these global situations to come to Canada.  Today’s announcement did not explain whether the new target will take into consideration existing and future humanitarian programs.

Other announcements included those that are targeting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”) as of May 1, 2024:

  • Reduction of the percentage of foreign workers making up a company’s workforce from 30% to 20%, but health care and construction sectors will be exempted.
  • The LMIA will only be valid for 6 months, not the current 12 months.
  • Employers will have to consider asylum seekers with valid work permits for open positions before they can consider temporary foreign workers.

One must wonder if this announcement was necessary, and isn’t just political to address the growing public anti-immigration sentiments across Canada.  The significant reduction in foreign students announced earlier may be sufficient to meet this reduction in temporary residents. The Minister claims businesses have become addicted to temporary foreign workers and this arrangement seems to target them.  Unfortunately, the announcement did not include any relief for many Post Graduate Work Permit holders that have spent significant resources on a Canadian education and gained Canadian work experience and are running out of time to transition to permanent residence status.

The pandemic may be over, but the hangover from the pandemic persists and at CILF we witness every day real challenges companies are facing in hiring and maintaining skilled workers in many sectors, not just health and construction.

If you have any questions regarding these announcements, reach out to one of our professionals today for a consultation. Our Canadian immigration legal professionals can be reached by phone (416 368 1111) or via email:;;;;;