Canada: Canada Makes Significant Changes To Temporary Foreign Worker Program And Canadian Permanent Resident Application Process

Last Updated: June 11 2014
Article by Brian Tsuji

Canada's immigration programs are in the process of undergoing some of the most significant changes that have been made in recent memory. Some of these changes are already in effect, while the biggest changes begin January 1, 2015. This bulletin outlines several changes to some of the most popular programs.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Employer Violations

In general the Canadian government has become more strict in dealing with violations by employers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program ("TFWP").

On April 24, 2014, Employment and Social Development Canada ("ESDC") Minister Jason Kenney banned Canadian restaurants from having access to the Canadian Foreign Worker Program. This moratorium means Canadian restaurants cannot hire any new foreign (non-Canadian) workers by applying for and obtaining a new work permit or a labour market opinion.

There are now six employers who have had their names appear on the ESDC "Blacklist' of Employers who have broken the rules or been suspended from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The employers are from British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The most well-known employer is McDonald's Restaurants with three locations in Victoria mentioned. Canadian employers should check to ensure they are in compliance with the policies of the TFWP.

Expanded Guidelines for Intra-company Transferee Work Permit with Specialized Knowledge

On June 9, 2014, under Operational Bulletin 575, the Government of Canada provided expanded guidelines for assessing work permit applications under the Intra-company Transferee ("ICT") Specialized Knowledge category.

The assessment criteria will now include a more rigorous definition of "specialized knowledge" as well as a mandatory wage requirement for some ICTs. These new guidelines are effective immediately.

1. Definition of Specialized Knowledge

An ICT Specialized Knowledge worker must possess "knowledge at an advanced level of expertise" and "proprietary knowledge of the company's product, service, research, equipment, techniques or management".

An ICT Specialized Knowledge applicant would need to demonstrate on a balance of probabilities, a high degree of both proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise. Proprietary knowledge alone, or advanced expertise alone, does not qualify the applicant under this exemption. The onus is on the applicant to provide evidence that they meet this standard. Documentary evidence may include, but is not limited to, the following: a resume; reference letters; letter of support from the company; job descriptions that outlines the level of training acquired, years of experience in the field, degrees or certifications obtained in the field, list of publications and awards (where applicable), and a detailed description of the work to be performed in Canada.

Proprietary knowledge is company-specific expertise related to a company's product or services. Advanced proprietary knowledge would require an applicant to demonstrate:

  • uncommon knowledge of the host firm's products or services and its application is international markets; or
  • an advanced level of expertise or knowledge of the enterprise's processes and procedures such as its production, research equipment, techniques or management

An advanced level of expertise would require specialized knowledge gained through significant and recent experience with the organization and used by the individual to contribute significantly to the employer's productivity.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada ("CIC") considers specialized knowledge to be knowledge that is unique and uncommon; it will by definition be held only by a small number or small percentage of employees of a given firm. Specialized Knowledge workers must therefore demonstrate that they are key personnel, not simply highly skilled.

2. Mandatory Wage Floor

If a worker possesses the high standard of specialized knowledge that is uncommon in a particular industry, then the salary or wage should be consistent with such a specialist. The wage should be higher than the wage floor set by the prevailing median wage.

It should be noted non-cash per diems (e.g. hotel, transportation paid for by the employer) are not to be included in the calculation of the overall salary or wage. Only allowances compensated in monetary form and paid directly to the employee are to be included.

Any employer considering using the ICT Specialized Knowledge category to apply for a work permit should check to ensure the new applicant will qualify under the new expanded guidelines concerning this category.

We also expect more changes to be announced in the near future concerning the TFWP.

Significant Changes for Canadian Permanent Resident Application Procedures Start January 1, 2015

The Canadian Permanent Resident ("PR") application procedures for the skilled worker categories will be changing dramatically next year. Under the current procedures an applicant files a Canadian PR application under one of the existing categories. The main existing Federal categories are: Federal Skilled Worker ("FSW"); Canadian Experience Class ("CEC"); and Federal Skilled Trades ("FST"). The main existing provincial category is the Provincial/Territorial Nominee Program ("PNP"). The applicant then waits for CIC to process the application. The general processing times are approximately: FSW 22-24 months; CEC 12-13 months; FST no processing times are available as the program is new; and PNP 18-22 months.

On January 1, 2015 there will be a new immigration system for applicants applying for Canadian PR status as a skilled worker. The new immigration system will be called the "Express Entry" system. Under the Express Entry system a candidate who is interested in coming to Canada will submit an Express Entry form online. Candidates who meet the eligibility criteria for at least one of the Federal programs (FSW, CEC or FST) or a portion of the PNP (skilled worker portion) will be entered into the Express Entry pool and assigned a points score.

The highest ranked candidates will be invited to apply for permanent residence and receive an Invitation to Apply ("ITA"). The goal of the new Express Entry program is for a six months processing time for an applicant who receives an ITA. An Express Entry submission is not a guarantee of receiving an ITA.

The new Express Entry system has been compared to a dating site for immigration applicants. Under the Express Entry system CIC will be reviewing a number of factors that will make the applicant more "attractive" such as the applicant having received: preliminary approval under FSW, CEC, FST or PNP; a Work Permit; or a Labour Market Opinion ("LMO"). There will continually be new applicants entering the site. If an applicant wishes to remain "attractive" and be selected by CIC for an ITA, it will be useful to continue to update the Express Entry profile.

It is important applicants apply now for Canadian PR status under one of the existing categories such as FSW, CEC, FST or PNP in order to be ready for the new Express Entry system when it opens. By applying now there is a better chance of having the application processed to the stage where a preliminary approval has been issued by January 1, 2015. Similarly, if an applicant needs a work permit or LMO renewed, the applicant should consider applying early to ensure an extension has been received by January 1, 2015. This increases the likelihood of having one of the factors that CIC has indicated will make an Express Entry profile "attractive".

More Applications Accepted for Two Categories under Canadian Permanent Resident Program

On May 1, 2014, the following changes to the Federal FSW Canadian PR program became effective:

  • An overall cap of 25,000 applications in the eligible occupations stream; and
  • Sub-caps of 1,000 applications for each of the 50 eligible occupations (increased from 29 occupations before).

On May 1, 2014, the following changes to the Federal CEC Canadian PR program became effective:

  • A global cap of 8,000 new complete applications per year;
  • Sub caps of 200 complete applications for all NOC B occupations except for the following six occupations that will be ineligible (admin. officers; admin. assistants; accounting technicians; retail trade supervisors; food service supervisors; and cooks); and
  • No sub caps for NOC O and A occupations. These are subject only to the global cap.

Applicants will benefit from the increase in overall cap and eligible occupations for the FSW Canadian PR program, as well as the increase in the overall cap for the CEC Canadian PR program as this will allow more people to be eligible to apply. This means more people will be eligible to have received preliminary approval under the FSW or CEC prior to the January 1, 2015 commencement of the new Express Entry system.

In general, the new Express Entry system will not be as predictable as the previous system. There is far more uncertainty concerning whether applicants will qualify for Canadian PR status.

We can expect more announcements from CIC in the coming months prior to the January 1, 2015 implementation date of the Express Entry system concerning policy and procedures.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions