Jason Kenney TFW rules

N.S. Labour Minister Kelly Regan will meet with federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney next week (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia's labour minister said she will seek exemptions for certain industries under changes to the temporary foreign worker program when she meets with federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney next week.

Kelly Regan said some Nova Scotia businesses will struggle under new federal rules barring employers in the accommodation, food and retail sectors from hiring temporary foreign workers in areas where unemployment is above six per cent.

Proposed changes would also restrict businesses from employing more than 10 per cent of a workforce with foreign workers by 2016.

Regan cited fish processing plants, restaurants and tourism operations as examples of industries likely to suffer under the revisions.

She said the province wants flexibility.

Regan acknowledged that while some abuses have taken place under the program, the changes risk hurting business by making it difficult for employers to find qualified workers.