The following article appeared in the March 2015 edition of The Canadian Immigrant.
Canada’s government views itself as being a government that has reduced administrative burdens for Canadian businesses. Indeed, the House of Commons recently passed legislation that states that every new regulation that imposes a new administrative burden on Canadian business must result in an existing regulation being amended or repealed. Under its Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, the Canadian government has announced that it is committed to streamlining the regulatory approval processes and reducing reporting requirements and information demands.
Canadian employers of foreign nationals and prospective immigrants can be forgiven for viewing these proclamations and pronouncements with skepticism.
Administrative burden of the LMIA regime
Since 2013, the now-called Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has made the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) regime excessively administratively cumbersome.
ESDC has increased the LMIA application fee from $0 to $275 to $1,000. It has introduced exceedingly more stringent recruitment requirements on employers wishing to obtain LMIAs to permanently retain their foreign workers and help them transition to permanent residency. For reasons that I still don’t understand, ESDC has decided to not publicize some of its recruitment requirements, a decision which has resulted in many employers conducting recruitment and submitting applications that are guaranteed to fail.
In April 2014, ESDC imposed a moratorium on most LMIAs from the food services sector, and suspended existing LMIAs. In June 2014, it introduced LMIA foreign worker caps that took effect immediately. Since June 2014, ESDC has quietly changed numerous LMIA requirements by simply editing its website, and not providing any notice to employers that a change had been made.
Contrary to the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, ESDC’s new compliance regime has greatly increased the documentation requirements of employers utilizing the LMIA system.Read more ›
In June 2014, the Government of Canada announced that Canadians could now participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC“) Business Travel Card (“ABTC“) program. I applied for and quickly obtained one. Indeed, when I went for my interview I was told by the United States Customs and Border Patrol officer that I was one of the first people to be interviewed. From what I can tell it appears that very few Canadians have applied for the ABTC.
Indeed, when I mention the very existence of the ABTC most people appear unaware that it even exists. This is unfortunate. If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and you’ve ever sat in frustration at the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver waiting for your visa that will only be valid for a few months, or stood in line gaping at the size of the crowds at the ShenZhen-Hong Kong border crossing, then the ABTC is for you.Read more ›
Last updated on June 12th, 2018
One of the most perplexing aspects about the Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC“) is its insistent that all Employer Compliance Reviews be done by mail. Apparently, as confirmed in this reproduction of internal ESDC correspondence obtained through an Access to Information Act request, it is because the potential for electronic transmission of information to be intercepted by wireless devices is too great.
I’m sure most employers would be willing to take this risk (which is probably less than the risk of something getting lost in the mail) if it meant that the Employer Compliance Reviews took days instead of (often) months.
Read more ›
On February 17, 2015, the Province of British Columbia published the results of the following FOI request:
Specific fields of data, tabulated by year for the past four years, within the Performance Agreements for Business Immigration including: the number of agreements signed, investment amount committed and number of jobs committed as well as the agreements fulfilled, the actual investment amounts and actual number of jobs. Timeframe is 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2014.
The FOI results are embedded below. There are many things that one can conclude from the data. What is clear is that except for 2012, the “performance agreement success rate” is around 50%.Read more ›
Last updated on March 19th, 2019
It is not uncommon for people who are applying for temporary residency are scared to admit anything that could convey a future desire to immigrate to Canada. However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) recognizes that having two intents (one temporary and one permanent) is legitimate. Its policy on this is commonly known as “dual intent.”Read more ›
In January 2015 the Federal Court released its decision in Frankie’s Burgers Lougheed Inc. v. The Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada, 2015 FC 27 (“Frankie’s Burgers“). Frankie’s Burgers is one of the first Federal Court decisions involving an employer seeking judicial review of a decision of the Ministry of Economic and Social Development Canada (“ESDC“) to not issue a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“), which was then referred to as a Labour Market Opinion (“LMO“).
Frankie’s Burgers should be read by all representatives and employers who submit LMIAs. In my opinion, the case shows that the Federal Court seems prepared to show much greater deference to ESDC in its administration of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (the “TFWP“) than it does to both Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Board. Lawyers who were anticipating that the Federal Court would force ESDC to change some of its (often internal and secretive) policies should also take pause.Read more ›
On February 11, 2015, the Government of Canada publicized amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations that affected most applicants in the International Mobility Program (the “IMP“).
The IMP includes all streams of work permit applications that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) process, including workers covered by free trade agreements, people participating in exchange programs like International Experience Canada (“IEC“), provincial nominees, intra-company transferees, post-graduate work permit holders, etc.
In reviewing the changes described below, it is important to understand the distinction between a closed work permit and an open work permit. A closed work permit limits a foreign worker to a particular employer. An open work permit allows the foreign worker to work for any employer.
- The changes consist of:
- Requiring that employers of prospective closed work permit holders in the IMP provide information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) before their prospective employees apply for work permits;
- Requiring that employers of prospective closed work permit holders pay a $230.00 “employer compliance fee” per employee before their prospective employees apply for work permits; and
- Introducing a new $100.00 “privilege fee” on open work permit applicants.
The Government of Canada has announced that the above changes will all take effect on February 21, 2015.Read more ›