On April 29th, 2013, the Government of Canada introduced several
reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
These reforms were announced by Diane Finley, Minister of Human
Resources and Skills Development, and Jason Kenney, Minister of
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. Their joint
announcement underscored their position that Canadians must always
be considered first for job opportunities available in Canada. The
present reforms are being enacted in order to ensure that employers
use the TFWP only to fill genuine, temporary labour and skills
shortages. Henceforth, employers must make greater efforts to
recruit and train Canadians to meet their employment needs.
The reforms include the following:
1. Employers must pay temporary foreign workers at or above the
prevailing wage rate for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
The modicum of flexibility in the payment of wages that might
previously have been enjoyed by some employers has been
2. The Accelerated Labour Market Opinion ("A-LMO")
application process has been suspended pending review to determine
whether it is meeting its intended objectives.
Pending Parliamentary Approval:
3. The government will invoke its authority to suspend and
revoke work permits and Labour Market Opinions ("LMOs")
if it is found that the TFWP is being misused. Should an LMO be
suspended, no new work permits would be issued and existing work
permits would be subject to review and possible revocation.
4. The introduction of an LMO application fee, to be paid by the
employer applicant, and an increase in the work permit application
fee. This change is being implemented to reflect the true cost of
processing these applications and so that those costs are no longer
subsidized by Canadian taxpayers.
5. Questions designed to ensure that the TFWP is not being used
to outsource Canadian jobs will be added to the LMO application
form. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
("HRSDC") will utilize the LMO process to verify that
Canadian employees are not being displaced by temporary foreign
6. The LMO application will require employers to demonstrate
that they have an objectively supported transition plan in place,
so that a position filled by a temporary foreign worker will, in
time, be occupied by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
The details of this plan may vary depending on variables such as
the skill level of the position, the type of industry, the regional
unemployment rate, and the nature of the position itself. HRSDC
will review the employer's plan to determine whether its
intended actions in recruitment, training, and residency are
sufficient to support the necessary transition.
7. English and French have been confirmed as the only languages
that can be properly listed as a job requirement. There may,
however, be exemptions to this rule in cases where a foreign
language is an essential requirement of the position, for example
tour guides, translators, or performers.
Further changes may be announced as these reforms take
HRSDC maintains that these reforms will strengthen the TFWP and
support economic growth and recovery by ensuring that Canadians are
hired before temporary foreign workers. The changes are also said
to be enacted to ensure that the TFWP is used only as a last resort
to manage acute and temporary labour and skills shortages.
In an effort to confirm that the TFWP is furthering the best
interests of Canadian workers and businesses, the government will
seek input from Canadians on additional changes that may be made to
the program. Over the next few months, nation-wide consultations
will be conducted with businesses, industry and trade
organizations, and others regarding possible further changes to the
TFWP. We encourage all of our clients to actively participate in
this process so that your business needs are understood and
reflected in any such reform.
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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