The program had initially started with agricultural workers and live-in care givers, but now there are more additions to the stream for low and high skilled workers. This ranges from fast food workers to truck drivers and all the way to engineers even musicians. The TFWP focuses mainly on jobs that need a Labour Market Option (LMO), which is a screening process done by the Canadian Government to ensure that the employers have exhausted all local options to find a Canadian employee.

Where in Canada do TFWP work?

Western Canada is viewed as the biggest user of the program because the unemployment rate in the western area is significantly lower than the national average. However, according to the LMO, Alberta uses the program more than any other province, with Ontario and British Columbia right behind. Most employers say they are faced with the problem of finding Canadian workers and need outside help.

Where do TFW come from?

Well, they can come from anywhere in the world, however the top countries that provide temporary foreign workers are:

  • Philippines
  • Mexico
  • United States of America
  • India
  • Jamaica


The employer is responsible for arranging the employee’s worker’s compensation benefits and medical coverage, verifying that the employee has a Social Insurance Number (SIN), and ensuring that the conditions and time limits on the work permit are respected. Because the TFWP is designed to help employers fill short term gaps in Canada’s labour market, most temporary foreign workers are limited to working in Canada for four years before having to return to their home country. Most TFWP's have the opportunity to apply for permanent residence if they wish to do so, which limits the amount of time they may work in Canada with a temporary status.

More than 192 000 temporary foreign workers entered Canada in 2011 and the overall total included 70 000 foreign workers whose employer required an LMO. In 2011, more than 29 000 temporary foreign workers made the transition to permanent status.