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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Karas & Associates
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Karas & Associates
Related Articles
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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