Employers seeking to employ foreign workers must often obtain a
positive labour market opinion (LMO) from Human Resources and
Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) before a foreign worker will
receive a work permit. If you are an employer relying on the
Foreign Worker Program this year, you need to consider recent
changes to the LMO application process, and the addition of
expanded government search and seizure powers in connection with
the employment of foreign nationals.
The most recent changes to theImmigration and
Refugee Protection Regulations, which came into effect on
December 31, 2013, are the final stage of a comprehensive set of
reforms announced in the spring of 2013. This article
highlights some of the key changes which may impact your
New LMO Application Forms
If you are applying to hire a temporary foreign worker, be
aware that a new LMO application form was introduced on December
31, 2013. Among other changes, the form includes additional
employer attestations about the employer's compliance with the
requirements of the Foreign Worker Program.
Audit Period Increased to Six Years
As of December 31, 2013, employers must maintain records
relating to an LMO or work permit application for six years,
starting on the first day of employment for which a work permit was
issued to the foreign worker. The records include evidence of
advertisement and recruitment efforts and any document that relates
to compliance with imposed conditions.
Search and Seizure Powers
To verify compliance with the Foreign Worker Program, HRSDC
and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) have been granted
vastly expanded search and seizure powers. HRDSC/CIC has the
Require an employer to provide documents to verify
Require an employer to report at any specified time
and place in order to answer questions,
Without a warrant conduct inspections of any premises
or place where a temporary foreign worker does work (with the
exception of private dwellings, which require warrants),
Question any employee on-site or demand production of
Be accompanied or assisted during site inspections by
any person required by HRSDC/CIC (this could include the Canada
Revenue Agency or employment standards inspectors, for
HRSDC/CIC can trigger an inspection if it has a reason to
suspect that an employer is not complying or has not complied with
any conditions imposed under an LMO or work permit. However, it can
also do so simply as part of random compliance verification.
The search and seizure powers extend for six years from the first
day of employment of a temporary foreign worker, even if that
foreign national is no longer employed by that
Potential Penalties for Non-Compliance
Employers who are determined not to be in compliance could be
banned from hiring foreign workers for 2 years and have their name
published on a public "black-list." Any pending LMO
applications by that employer could also be refused.
Please contact Field Law's Business Immigration Group if
you would like further information about the recent changes or
require assistance navigating the Temporary Foreign Worker
Program. Our immigration counsel can assist you in complying
with the Program's requirements to reduce risk of disruption to
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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