How to Hire Internationally Trained Workers (ITW)

The main driver, arguably, of the Canadian economy is its labour force. Canadian workers fuel industry, services, IT, resource development and especially help small businesses thrive in a sometimes, volatile market environment. But the landscape is changing. As the population ages, and demographics change and grow, the pool from which businesses can hire domestic labour is dwindling.

This is where other opportunities and alternatives need to be considered. Internationally Trained Workers (ITW) can help fill the gaps left by the domestic labour force unwilling or untrained to help alleviate labour problems. Employers may find that particular skills are needed for smaller term projects and/or want to involve expertly trained workers who are sometimes difficult to find at home. ITWs help provide an unlimited choice for employers to work efficiently and without interruption of service, thereby keeping businesses and the economy strong.

Employers have choices. If you are looking for a full time permanent employee and cannot find a suitable domestic candidate, the government offers what it calls its Express Entry Program. Under this program you can hire through the:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP); or
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program

For example, to qualify, FSWPs must have at least one year of qualifying skilled work experience in the past 10 years, FSTPs must have a full-time offer for a total period of at least one year, and a CEC must have 12 months of full-time skilled work experience in Canada. More details can be seen at

Besides the Express Entry Program, employers can hire workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in which a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) must be obtained before they can hire the worker. More on that at:

Once obtained, employers must demonstrate:

  • Efforts have been made to recruit or train Canadian residents;
  • Wages are consistent with prevailing wage paid to Canadians;
  • Working conditions meet current provincial labour market standards; and
  • Any potential benefits the hiring of the foreign worker may have on the Canadian labour market

Most of the benefits of the programs come in the form of providing a larger pool of skilled workers for employers to draw from. A smaller or unskilled labour force in a particular field can affect business operations negatively. Providing employers with the means to seek workers outside of the pool allows for less stress on their business. It may also have the effect of attracting foreign business to Canada. However, as is the case with many governmental programs, ensuring the right paper work has been obtained, and providing the right documentation both by the employer and employee can be difficult. A more streamlined process may be needed to speed up the time and allow employers to finish their projects uninterrupted. Also, immigration slowdowns and backlogs can prevent workers from entering the country in a timely fashion.

Overall, the impact on Canada, especially in places like the West, has been significant. For example, in Alberta, temporary workers made up about 1.74 percent of the workforce in 2013 according to the report Work Interrupted.

There are certainly jobs that either Canadians don’t want or simply cannot do. Employers need those positions filled and enlarging the pool of willing and trained workers can help maintain a healthy economy as well as grow economic prospects in the future.


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Henry Goldbeck

Henry E. Goldbeck, President of Goldbeck Recruiting Inc, is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) and founded Goldbeck Recruiting in 1997. Since then, Henry has built the company's reputation as a leading headhunter and recruitment agency in sales, marketing, operations, engineering, and executive level positions across a variety of industries.

President & CEO at Goldbeck Recruiting Inc.

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