The Government of Canada has announced it is extending work permits to family members of temporary foreign workers.
It says expanding the eligibility for work permits to family members accompanying the principal applicant to Canada will help address labour shortages by assisting employers in finding the workers they need.
The announcement was made by Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance.
Prior to this announcement, spouses were only eligible for a work permit if the principal applicant was working in a high-skill occupation.
The government says this temporary measure aims to improve the emotional well-being, physical health and financial stability of workers by keeping families together.
Starting in January 2023, through a temporary 2-year measure, Canada will expand eligibility to work in Canada to spouses and working-age children through a phased approach for workers at all skill levels.
This would include families of workers in health care, trades and hospitality, for example. As a result of this new approach, it is estimated that family members of more than 200,000 foreign workers could begin working in Canada, offering a greater opportunity for both foreign workers seeking to work in Canada and for employers addressing their labor needs.
Canada has issued over 645,000 work permits between January and October 2022—nearly 4 times more than the 163,000 issued over the same period in 2021.
Shalini Mehta, a resident of Halton of Indian origin, said she was happy with the news as this would potentially mean her husband could also benefit from a work permit.
“It will help our family stay together and contribute sufficiently to our family income”, she said.
Joseph, a factory owner in Oakville said he had a number of immigrants working for him, and if their families could be eligible for work permits, he may soon be able to address the shortage of labor he is facing.
“Honestly, this year has been a difficult one. The last two years we faced problems due to the pandemic and this year, the fuel prices and other things have driven the cost of business higher. Add to that the shortage of labor”, he said.
Ahmed, a doctor in Milton who hails from Pakistan, said his wife who is a doctor back in their home country, would apply through this program. “Healthcare sector is one of the most affected because of labor shortage, adding to the waiting times”, he said.
By Shazia Nazir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Milton Reporter
Original Published on Dec 18, 2022 at 21:43