02/18/2016 13:12 EST | Updated 02/18/2017 00:12 EST

Temporary Foreign Worker Program review to be launched by Liberals

Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk says she'll ask a parliamentary committee to review the Temporary Foreign Worker Program following feedback she's received from Canadians who say reforms brought in by the previous government missed the mark.

The Conservatives overhauled the program in 2014 after a series of stories published by CBC's Go Public team alleged abuse of the program. 

"I plan to ask a House of Commons committee to study the program, to provide advice and suggestions for reform and improvement," Mihychuk said on Thursday in a written statement to CBC.

"The previous government's plan failed workers, businesses and Canadians, and undermined confidence in the program."

Stiff new fines and penalties for employers who break the new rules came into effect on Dec. 1 — after the new Liberal government was sworn into power. But reforms brought in by the Conservatives will further restrict access to the program in the coming months, unless the Liberals reverse some of those changes.

If no changes are made, employers with 10 or more staff will be expected to abide by a 10 per cent cap on hiring low-wage, temporary foreign workers per job site by July 1.

"I have heard from businesses, from worker advocates, members of Parliament and others across Canada that the Temporary Foreign Worker system needs to change," Mihychuk said on Thursday.

A scathing report published by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce last month was critical of the last set of reforms to the program and called on the federal government to conduct an immediate review of labour and immigration reforms brought in by the Conservatives.

The review would be conducted by the Commons committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, although the minister did not say when it would begin.

"With committees just beginning their work, it's too soon to know details such as timing or next steps," Mihychuk said on Thursday.

"This work will be part of our plan to bring clarity, focus, and accountability to the program — and our plan to help Canadian workers find good jobs, get back to work, and strengthen our economy."

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