Reacting to the recent public backlash over alleged abuses to
the temporary foreign worker program (TFWP), on April 29, 2013 the
federal government announced a series of legislative, regulatory
and administrative changes "ensuring Canadians have first
chance at available jobs".
The principal changes to the TFWP are:
effective immediately, a temporary suspension of the
Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process
effective immediately, eliminating an employer's
flexibility to pay temporary foreign workers at wage rates (5% to
15%) below the prevailing wage rate for the occupation
amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to
increase the government's authority to suspend and revoke work
permits and LMOs in the case of misuse
introducing a fee for the processing of LMO applications and
increasing the fee for processing work permits
amending LMO application forms to require employers to verify
that Canadians are not being replaced by foreign workers
requiring employers who rely on foreign workers to have a firm
plan in place to transition work to Canadian workers
identifying English and French as the only languages that can
be used as a job requirement, unless an employer can demonstrate
that a foreign language is an essential job requirement
These changes will reverse initiatives introduced by the
same government over the last few years, designed to assist
Canadian employers experiencing labour shortages when Canadians
were not available to do the work.
Critics of the current rules have argued that foreign workers
are too often being used as a source of cheap labour that has
driven wages down and contributed to the continuing high
unemployment rate in Canada. Conversely, critics of the proposed
changes are saying that they will put increasing pressure on small
businesses that have otherwise been unable to recruit Canadian
workers and on other employers that have experienced skill
The announcement is simply the first step in what the government
calls on "ongoing" review of the TFWP. We will
keep you informed of further changes as they develop.
The foregoing provides only an overview. Readers are
cautioned against making any decisions based on this material
alone. Rather, a qualified lawyer should be consulted.
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