The central banker told a Commons committee that even at the higher-skill levels, the program should only be used to fill gaps until employers have sufficient time to train Canadians to fill the work.
Carney says a government review of the program is also looking at the same objectives.
There are some shortages of some skilled trades, he says, but he also notes that Canada has one of the most flexible labour markets among advanced countries.
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In other testimony, Carney says it is quite likely that interest rates will remain at current historically low levels for some time.
He says the banks considers three factors in its decisions about interest rates, and all currently point to the trendsetting policy rate remaining at one per cent.
Carney says unused capacity in the economy remains high, inflationary pressures are low and household debt is stabilizing.
Still, Carney says the government and the bank need to be vigilant that the housing market and mortgage accumulation does not re-heat because if there is a shock, that could have a severe impact on the economy.