indicatorThe Twenty-Four

Temporary foreign workers in Alberta

The number of work permits is on the rise in 2023

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 3 August 2023 1 min read

Temporary foreign workers are an important part of Alberta’s labour force with about 45,000 permit holders coming to the province in 2022. This was a 62% increase over the number of arrivals in 2021.

Over the first five months of 2023, the number of foreign workers coming to Alberta was more than double the number at the same point in 2022. If this pace continues, Alberta is on track to welcome over 77,000 new foreign workers in 2023.

There are two programs under which foreign job seekers can apply to work in Canada: 1) the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP); and 2) the International Mobility Program (IMP).

The TFWP is aimed at addressing local labour shortage by allowing Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary jobs when qualified Canadians are not available.

As such, the TFWP requires employers to complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment. “A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job. It will also show that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job.”

TWFP permit holders tend to work in agriculture, food services and accommodation, or as caregivers.

The IMP does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment and is aimed at providing “reciprocal benefits for Canadian citizens” (i.e. so Canadians can apply for temporary work permits in other countries), and providing broad economic, cultural, or other competitive advantages to Canadians. The IMP also facilitates the movement of workers covered under free trade agreements such as the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement and intra-company transfers.

Typical occupations of IMP permit holders in Alberta include university professors, engineers, IT experts, and medical specialists.

The IMP is the larger of the two programs covering 75% of temporary foreign workers coming to Alberta in 2022.

Answer to the previous trivia question: The Alberta government declared the first Monday of August to be Heritage Day in 1974.

Today’s trivia question: International Experience Canada (IEC) is a federal government program that enables Canadians aged 18 to 35 to apply to work and travel abroad. How many countries does Canada have agreements with through IEC?

Over 45,000 temporary foreign workers came to Alberta in 2022

Over 45,000 temporary foreign workers came to Alberta in 2022

Economics News

Subscribe and get a quick daily snapshot of what’s happening in Alberta’s economy

Need help?

Our Client Care team will be happy to assist.