Canadian Open Work Permit

Starting Today, Family Members of Work Permit Holders Are Eligible for a Canadian Open Work Permit

Published on: January 30th, 2023

As of today, January 30th, some family members of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) are now eligible for Open Work Permits (OWP). 

As it was announced last month, the IRCC is implementing a temporary measure to grant some family members of the TFW program and the International Mobility Program open work permits. The goal of this measure is to allow for better integration for family members here in Canada, and to help address persistent labour shortages

Those who meet the following criteria, are eligible for a work permit: 

  • Are the spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of a work permit holder who:
    • Works in a profession of any TEER category, 0 to 5 or;
    • Is the principal applicant and has an open work permit
  • Are the spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of an economic class permanent resident applicant who holds a work permit.

At this time, spouses, common-law partners and dependents of workers in a profession categorised as TEER 4 or 5 under the low-wage stream of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream of the TFW program are not eligible. 

Implemented In Three Phases

To ensure a smooth roll out, the temporary measure will be rolled out in 3 phases. The dates for phase two and three have yet to be announced. 

  • Phase 1 will enable family members of workers coming to Canada through the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program to apply for an open work permit .
  • Phase 2 aims to expand the measure to the family members of workers from the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, following consultations.
  • Phase 3 will include consultation with agricultural partners and stakeholders to assess operational feasibility for expanding the measure to family members of agricultural workers.

Why Are Higher Immigration Targets Needed?

Canada has historically welcomed high numbers of newcomers to help keep its economy strong. Currently, Canada is facing a unique period of historic labour shortages alongside nearly one million job vacancies. Both are driving factors in the country’s growing immigration targets.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of job openings across the country reached an all-time high at nearly one million. This was an increase of 2.7% from the previous peak in the last quarter and over 80% above pre-pandemic levels. This has been the highest on record in recent years.

Vacancies have  continued to rise in specific key sectors. Some of the hardest hit have been the health care and social assistance sector. The health care and social assistance sector has been growing rapidly due to the aging population. The shortage has been further exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Canada faces an acute shortage of skilled workers, many businesses struggle to find the right people to fill positions. To help address this problem, Canada has turned to immigration to fill record numbers of job openings, a trend that is expected to continue in the future to meet labour demands and fill important jobs.

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