Temporary Foreign Workers

On June 20, 2014, the Government of Canada announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Visit Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for more information.

Every year, thousands of foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily to help Canadian employers address labour challenges. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) ensure that these workers will support economic growth in Canada and create more opportunities for all Canadian job seekers.

This section is meant for those living outside Canada interested in coming to Alberta as Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW), and for employers interested in hiring Temporary Foreign Workers from abroad.

Applying as a Temporary Foreign Worker

Two federal government departments, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), administer the TFWP. The TFWP is an opportunity for:

  • foreign workers to work in Canada temporarily
  • Canadian employers to address short-term labour challenges by temporarily hiring foreign workers

In most cases, permanent residents and those who are not Canadian citizens need work permits from CIC before working. Temporary Foreign Workers from certain countries must also get a temporary resident visa before arriving in Canada.

If you are a Temporary Foreign Worker:

  1. Your Alberta employer may have to get approval to hire a foreign worker. This approval is called a Labour Market Impact Assessment, or LMIA.
  2. Your employer will send you a copy of the LMIA, along with an offer of employment.
  3. Once you have both of these documents, you can apply for a work permit at the designated Canadian visa office.

In some cases, employers can hire Temporary Foreign Workers without an LMIA. CIC determines whether an occupation falls under this category.

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Information for Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta

CIC provides information to help Temporary Foreign Workers when they arrive in Canada. Visit Working temporarily in Canada: Arriving to learn more about:

  • the types of documents you may need when to enter and work in Canada
  • medical and health insurance
  • workers’ compensation in Canada
  • getting a Social Insurance Number
  • employment and labour standards 

If you are a Temporary Foreign Worker, your employer must make sure that you are covered by medical and health insurance, and by workers' compensation when you arrive in Canada. All workers, including Temporary Foreign Workers, are covered by provincial employment standards. Nearly all occupations in Alberta are covered by Occupational Health and Safety legislation; there are some exceptions (e.g., farm workers, housekeepers and nannies).

The Alberta government has a number of resources for Temporary Foreign Workers and for employers who hire them, including:

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