In early 2016, the Canadian Government announced it would be reviewing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) welcomed this review, and urged a focus on the vulnerability and exploitation faced by foreign workers. A copy of the CCR's open letter to the federal government is located here.

Removing the 4 & 4 Rule

In December 2016, the federal government eliminated what had become known as the controversial “4 & 4 Rule”. The rule, discussed in detail here, rendered lower wage TFWs ineligible to work in Canada for four years once they had completed a four-year work permit.

The 4 & 4 Rule was divisive in Canada. Critics argued that it unnecessarily uprooted families, created inefficiencies and instability for business, and pushed TFWs into underground markets where they faced exploitation.

As of December 2016, the 4 & 4 Rule has been suspended in Canada.

Read more about the 4 & 4 Rule here and here.

Adjustments to the Cap on Foreign Workers

During the 2015 overhaul of the TFWP, a gradually decreasing cap was introduced to limit the number of lower wage TFWs per site location. The original goal was that, by July 2016, employers who rely on lower wage TFWs could have more than 10% of their work be performed by TFWs per work location. For more details on the original cap system, click here.

This original goal has been modified.

Now, if an employer accessed the TFWP prior to June 20, 2014, lower wage TFWs can make up 20% of persons employed at a given worksite. For employers who had not accessed the TFWP prior to June 20, 2014, this cap is 10% [source:].

Seasonal industries are exempted entirely from the cap until December 31, 2017.