Temporary Foreign Workers

Every year, thousands of foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily to help Canadian employers address labour challenges. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) 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

Foreign workers work in Canada temporarily and can can be either

  • permanent residents
  • people who are not Canadian citiziens

Canadian employers can address short-term labour challenges by temporarily hiring foreign workers.

In most cases, foreign workers need work permits from IRCC 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. IRCC determines whether an occupation falls under this category.

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Information for Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta

IRCC 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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