In April of this year, Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker
Program suddenly became a hot topic for every major media outlet in
the country. Reactions to controversy surrounding the program
ranged from virulent criticism to impassioned defense.
The debate eventually expanded to include questions about the
economic necessity of outsourcing, the obligations of Canadian
companies, and national identity in a globalized world. These are
all fundamental issues reaching far beyond discussion of the merits
of Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Even a major
overhaul of the program would be only the tip of a very large
Nonetheless, such an overhaul was the simplest way for the
federal government to address the criticism, so that has been the
immediate result. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program was slated
for change before the recent controversy erupted, but new policies
and heightened enforcement measures have come down swiftly over the
past few months. These recent changes are a marked departure from
the previous year's efforts to make it simpler for compliant
employers to bring in temporary foreign workers.
On 29 April 2013, two major changes were implemented, effective
The wage flexibility that previously allowed employers to offer
wages that were up to 15% lower than the prevailing Canadian wage
rate was removed; and
the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process was suspended.
This pilot program had previously allowed certain employers of
higher-skilled workers to obtain an LMO more quickly and
Other changes were announced, but have yet to be implemented due
to the need for parliamentary approval:
The Government's authority to suspend and revoke work
permits and labour market opinions (LMOs) if the program is being
misused will be expanded;
employer fees for processing Labour Market Opinions will be
introduced, and the fees for processing work permit applications
will be increased; and
the ability to list knowledge of a language other than English
or French as a job requirement will be limited.
On 8 June 2013, another set of proposed regulations was
introduced, including the following:
The employer compliance verification period will be extended
from two (2) years to a period of up to six (6) years;
employers offering stripping, exotic dance, escort services or
erotic massages will be prohibited from participating in the
most controversially, the proposed regulations expand the
authority of federal officials to search Canadian workplaces and
question employees without a warrant. Employer inspections will
take place where fraud is suspected, but can also result from a
The ability to bring in temporary foreign workers to fill labour
needs is vital to the success of many Canadian businesses. The
government has acknowledged and encouraged this in the past, and
will certainly continue to do so going forward. However, employers
must be prepared for stricter monitoring and enforcement of the
program. We can expect that new applications will be more closely
scrutinized, and that violations of the program requirements will
not go unpunished.
Preparing thorough applications and paying close attention to
compliance conditions will now be more important than ever. The
Immigration Law Group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall
LLP/s.r.l. has the expertise to assist both employers and potential
employees with evaluating eligibility, preparing comprehensive
application packages, addressing any potential complications, and
advising on ongoing compliance requirements.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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September 21st, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 20th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 43rd overall, inviting 1288 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 483.
Canada received more than 320,000 immigrants in the last 12 months, approaching levels not seen since the early 20th century. The per capital immigration rate at .88%, is consistent with previous Liberal government policies.
October 12th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 21st round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 44th overall, inviting 1518 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 484.
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