What You Need To Know

Background info

The TFWP (Temporary Foreign Worker Program) launched on June 1st, 2011, in Alberta, Canada. This program was created to allow foreign nationals to work temporarily in a specific occupation in Canada and to be issued a Work Permit without requiring a Labour Market Opinion from Service Canada.

The project was established by the Temporary Foreign Workers Annex in the Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration which states the following:

“7.2.1 The Canada-Alberta Working Group on TFWs, defined in section 9.2, will work toward developing occupation-specific (but non-employer specific) work permits for TFWs working in Alberta in the engineering, construction and procurement industries to permit limited mobility of certain high-skilled TFWs within a particular industrial sector.” Link

How it works

TFW applicants who have been offered a job in the steamfitter/pipefitter occupation in Alberta, either from an individual employer or with a recognized Group of Employers are eligible for the following:

%u25CF     A one year work permit that is specific to single employer.


%u25CF     A two year open work permit which is specific to a single occupation but allows applicant to move between different employers throughout the Province of Alberta.

This depends on whether or not the applicant is certified as a qualified journeyperson by the Province of Alberta

Type of applicant

Application period

Duration of work permit

Uncertified journeyperson

Must have a letter from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT) approving their application to the TFW Qualification Certificate Program (QCP) which authorizes them to work in Alberta until they have challenged the QCP exams successfully (pass).

Must apply between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2013 at a visa office or at a POE (point of entry) if applicable.

One year (Is employer and occupation specific and for work within the Province of Alberta only)

Alberta certified journeyperson

Must ossess an Alberta Qualification Certificate. This is issued by AAIT.

Must apply between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2013. Must apply before original work permit expires.

Two years (Not employer-specific and for work within the Province of Alberta only. Is occupation specific)

A review and evaluation of the pilot will begin in 2014.

The terms of this pilot will only apply to qualifying foreign nationals will be or who currently are working in Alberta.

Applicants may be required to meet other federal criteria including the likelihood they will leave Canada at the end of their stay. They must also continue to meet all admissibility criteria in order to obtain status as a temporary resident in Canada. If they choose, applicants may apply for permanent residency at the end of their work permit. This entails a separate application.

Who is eligible?

Foreign nationals:

Foreign nationals who are entering Canada and intend to work in Alberta as TFWs, and who have been offered a position at a job in Alberta from an individual employer (or an employer making a job offer on behalf of a Group of Employers) under the classification of steamfitter or pipefitter occupation (National Occupational Classification 7252),


Temporary Foreign Workers:

Those certified by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT) as TFWs and who are currently working in the steamfitter or pipefitter trade in Alberta.

How Work Permits are issued

For non certified applicants:

%u25CF     Must apply overseas or at a port of entry (POE) in Canada if applicable
%u25CF     Due to the fact that Steamfitter-Pipefitter occupation is a compulsory trade in Alberta, the uncertified TFW must have a letter of approval and an approved application from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT) for the Qualification Certification Program prior to arriving in Canada. More information on the Qualification Certificate Program can be found here:
%u25CF     Those applying as a TFW at a visa office must provide the approval letter from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training as part of their Work Permit application. This can also be provided to the Border Services Officer at a Canadian Point of Entry, if applicable.
%u25CF     A one-year Work Permit that is employer-specific, specific to the steamfitter or pipefitter occupation, and is based on a job offer from a named employer, or an employer making a job offer on behalf of a recognized Group of Employers (GoE) may be granted to a foreign national as described above upon application (including payment of all required fees) and without requiring an LMO. This one-year time allotment exists to so that the foreign national can meet the certification requirements of the AAIT while still being employed by the initial employer (or a Group of Employers recognized under the CIC-HRSDC GoE Pilot).

Once the certification is confirmed, the TFW can then apply for a two-year non-employer-specific (open) Work Permit that will allow the worker to work with different employers throughout Alberta in the Steamfitter-Pipefitter occupation.

For certified applicants:

%u25CF     Can apply from inside Canada, at a port of entry (POE) in Canada (if applicable), or overseas and are eligible for a two-year open Work Permit;
%u25CF     Those who are in Canada and have been certified or who are already Alberta trade-certified, Alberta trade Red Seal certified, or are trade-certified in any other province/territory in Canada, may choose to apply to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta for a two-year open WP, either by mail or online.
%u25CF     Those certified as steamfitters or pipefitters who are already working in their trade in Alberta may apply directly for the two-year open work permit but must do so before May 31, 2013, and before their original work permit expires.
%u25CF     AAIT certified steamfitters and pipefitters who are currently outside of Canada but have been offered a job in the steamfitter/pipefitter trade from an employer in Alberta may apply for the two-year non-employer specific open work permit only if the application is received before the May 31, 2013 deadline.

Note: Job offers from the employer must prove that the wages offered are consistent with the average wage rate paid to Canadians in the same occupation in the province. Additionally, job offers must show that the working conditions for the occupation are in accordance with current provincial labour market standards. Lastly, work permit approvals may depend on medical examination requirements and results.

Note: No extensions will be issued.

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