Several LMIA Changes Taking Effect April 30, 2015

21st Apr 2015 Comments Off on Several LMIA Changes Taking Effect April 30, 2015

The Ministry of Employment and Social Development (“ESDC”) has announced that there will be several changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”) that will take effect on April 30, 2015.

The changes are:

  • Implementation of new High and Low-wage Streams
  • Updating the Provincial / Territorial Median Hourly Wages
  • Increasing Worker Protections
  • Modifying the Method for Calculating the Cap on Low Wage Positions
  • Implementing the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) system fully in Quebec
  • Updating Regions of Refusal to Process

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Government of Canada Overhauls the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

23rd Jun 2014 Comments Off on Government of Canada Overhauls the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

On June 20, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) and the Ministry of Economic and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) announced significant reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”).  The changes will affect all employers of Temporary Foreign Workers (“TFWs”) in Canada.  Many of the changes take effect immediately, with the remainder being phased in over the next year in a half.
 
The reforms are comprehensive, and include the following:

  • Labour Market Impact Assessment Program
    • New Labour Market Information Assessment (“LMIA”) Replaces the Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”)
    • LMIA Application Fee of $1,000
    • Guaranteed 10-Day Processing For Certain Occupations
    • Dividing LMIAs into High-Wage and Low-Wage Positions
    • Cap on Low-Wage TFWs for Individual Companies
    • Refusing Low-Skilled LMIA Applications in Areas of High Unemployment in Some Occupations
    • Reducing the Duration of Low-Wage Work Permits
    • Introduction of Transition Plans for High-Wage Positions
  • Stronger Enforcement and Tougher Penalties
    • Increasing the Number and Scope of Inspections
    • Monetary Fines for Employers Who Break the Rules
  • International Mobility Programs (“IMP”)
    • IMP Replacing LMO-Exempt Work Permit Program
    • New Fee and Employer Compliance System
    • New Privilege Fee for Open Work Permit Applicants
    • Amending Provincial Annexes
    • International Experience Canada Program Being Restructured
    • Intra-Company Transfer Program – New Rules for Specialized Knowledge Applicants

As noted above, the Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) program is being renamed the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”).  As well, the International Mobility Program (“IMP”) is replacing work permit applications which were previously classified as LMO-exempt.   
 
Please note that what follows below provides only a summary of the changes. 

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Labour Market Impact Assessments- Prevailing Wage

Labour Market Impact Assessments- Prevailing Wage

24th Jan 2014 Comments Off on Labour Market Impact Assessments- Prevailing Wage

Last updated on September 20th, 2018

In order to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessments, an employer must commit to paying a prospective foreign worker at least the prevailing wage for an occupation in a geographic area.  The prevailing wage is set by Employment and Skills Development Canada (“ESDC”)/Service Canada.  It is a very strict requirement, and Service Canada officers currently have no discretion to vary it.

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Ministerial Instructions – Revoking, Suspending, and Refusing to Process Work Permits and Labour Market Opinions

27th Dec 2013 Comments Off on Ministerial Instructions – Revoking, Suspending, and Refusing to Process Work Permits and Labour Market Opinions

On December 27, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) and the Ministry of Economic and Social Development (“Service Canada“) released Ministerial Instructions regarding the revocation of work permits and Labour Market Opinions (“LMOs“), now called Labour Market Impact Assessments (“LMIAs“).  The Ministerial Instructions will allow the Government of Canada to rapidly respond to economic developments by immediately reducing the intake of foreign workers, will increase program integrity, and create uncertainty for Canadian businesses.

These are the first Ministerial Instructions to be issued by Service Canada since the Government of Canada amended s. 30 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA“) in the first 2013 Budget Implementation Act.  Section 30 of IRPA now reads:

Work and study in Canada

30. (1) A foreign national may not work or study in Canada unless authorized to do so under this Act.

Authorization

(1.1) An officer may, on application, authorize a foreign national to work or study in Canada if the foreign national meets the conditions set out in the regulations.

Instructions

(1.2) Despite subsection (1.1), the officer shall refuse to authorize the foreign national to work in Canada if, in the officer’s opinion, public policy considerations that are specified in the instructions given by the Minister justify such a refusal.

Concurrence of second officer

(1.3) In applying subsection (1.2), any refusal to give authorization to work in Canada requires the concurrence of a second officer.

Purpose

(1.4) The instructions referred to in subsection (1.2) shall prescribe public policy considerations that aim to protect foreign nationals who are at risk of being subjected to humiliating or degrading treatment, including sexual exploitation.

Revocation of work permit

(1.41) An officer may revoke a work permit if,

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LMO Q&A: Employer Doesn’t Have Business License OPS/BE-004

12th Dec 2013 Comments Off on LMO Q&A: Employer Doesn’t Have Business License OPS/BE-004

During a consultation last month, a foreign worker and an employer told me that the employer was interested in obtaining a Labour Market Opinion to continue employing the foreign worker.  The employer, however, did not have a business license, and for various reasons refused to obtain one.  The employer wanted to know whether Service Canada would still approve his Labour Market Opinion.  While I did not know the answer off the top of my head, I luckily had a copy of the internal TFWP OPS/BE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS document that I have slowly been uploading to this blog.

Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice.  I obtained a copy of this internal Service Canada question and answer through an Access to Information Act request (the “ATI”).  The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.  (I have decided not to reproduce the names of the Service Canada officers involved.) Please e-mail me if you want a copy of the original question and answer contained in the ATI.

BACKGROUND:

The above named employer submitted a Labour Market Opinion application December 21, 201[2], seeking a “Licensed Practical Nurse”. The ER has advised that the senior living facility is set to open June 17, 2013 and have residences move in by July. The ER stated that the centre has been delayed in opening due to a construction fire; consequently the City of Regina will not issue a business license.

QUESTION/ISSUE:

Given that the ER is currently unable to obtain a business license through the City of Regina (a license that has been determined to be required by the city), is the assessing officer required to request one of the following documents in lieu of the license:

  • Business lease
  • T4 Summary
  • T2 Schedule 100 &

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LMO Q&A: Discrimination to obtain a Labour Market Opinion OPS/BE-003

5th Dec 2013 Comments Off on LMO Q&A: Discrimination to obtain a Labour Market Opinion OPS/BE-003

When reviewing internal Service Canada correspondence, I came across this interesting exchange between a Service Canada officer and a Business Expertise Consultant (“BEC”).  The issue involves a Labour Market Opinion application where a daycare employer told a Service Canada officer that she did not hire a qualified Canadian candidate because he was a male.  The BEC said that a Labour Market Opinion could not be issued because such gender discrimination was contrary to the BC Human Rights Code 

Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice.  I obtained a copy of this internal Service Canada question and answer through an Access to Information Act request (the “ATI”).  The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.  (I have decided not to reproduce the names of the Service Canada officers involved.) Please e-mail me if you want a copy of the original question and answer contained in the ATI.

BACKGROUND:

Daycare facility with 2 female employees and 10 children. When asked results of recruitement, ER stated she interviewed 6 candidates. Most wanted part time positions, one did not pass interview, one came in 30m late for interview, one was male and ER said she does not feel comfortable hiring male employees. She prefers having female workers and believes female children would feel more comfortable having female caretakers; especially in incidences where they need help with going to the bathroom.

QUESTION/ISSUE:

The employer has indicated she is uncomfortable to hire male employees for the position.

Is it appropriate to exclude men?

Can an employer discriminate based on gender?

If she had a qualified male to do the job,

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LMO Q&A: Who Can Be the Employer Contact? (OPS/BE-001)

8th Oct 2013 Comments Off on LMO Q&A: Who Can Be the Employer Contact? (OPS/BE-001)

My decision to publish e-mail exchanges between immigration representatives and Citizenship and Immigration Canada which I received through Access to Information Act requests has been met very favourably by blog readers.

I am now expanding this to internal correspondence between Temporary Foreign Worker Program officers at Service Canada and Business Expertise Consultants.

The following is an exchange between a Service Canada officer and a Business Expertise Consultant regarding who can be the employer contact in a LMO application.  My thoughts on the exchange are at the bottom of the reproduction.

Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice.  I obtained a copy of this internal Service Canada question and answer through an Access to Information Act request (the “ATI”).  The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.  (I have decided not to reproduce the names of the Service Canada officers involved.) Please e-mail me if you want a copy of the original question and answer contained in the ATI.

Background:

███████ has a 3’d party ███████ and his mailing address is ███████. This ID has 26 pages of activity in FWS, the last of which is a confirmation on 2011-10-12.

This 3’d party ID has a note dated, 2008/11/21, which states, “November 20, 08 Phone call to ███████ Employer states that the signature on the application, third party representative form and employment contract was not hers.”  The SF note for the file in question, SF ███████ states, “Spoke to ER Nov 20, 08. After attempting to verify application details the employer, ███████ stated that she was unaware of the employment contract and any of her responsibilities,

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Question & Answer – Renewing IEC Work Permit (IR-08)

2nd Oct 2013 Comments Off on Question & Answer – Renewing IEC Work Permit (IR-08)

The following is an e-mail exchange between an immigration representative and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) regarding International Experience Canada (the “IEC”).  The IEC, more commonly known as the Working Holiday Program (which is actually a program within the IEC), allows young people from several dozen countries to work in Canada on open work permits.  As with any program, questions emerged regarding specific requirements, including whether IEC work permits can be extended.

Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice.  I obtained a copy of this internal CIC question and answer through an Access to Information Act request the (“ATI”).  The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.  Please e-mail me if you want a copy of the original question and answer contained in the ATI.  

Question – May 13, 2013

Dear Sir or Madam:

I wish to seek your advice concerning the following situation.

I have a client, an _______, who came to Canada on a work permit issued to him on ___________ through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. His work permit is valid to  through the

My client wishes to obtain a renewal of his work permit prior to its expiry. As a result, I would like your advice as to whether he can submit a direct request to CIC Vegreville for an extension of his work permit or does he need an approved labour market opinion from Service Canada in order to submit an extension request of his work permit to CIC Vegreville so he can continue working in Canada.

I await your reply.

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Five Things I hope Jason Kenney Brings to the HRSDC Temporary Foreign Worker Program

15th Jul 2013 Comments Off on Five Things I hope Jason Kenney Brings to the HRSDC Temporary Foreign Worker Program

On July 15, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled his cabinet.  From an immigration perspective, the important changes are:

  • Steven Blaney replaces a retiring Vic Toews as the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
  • Chris Alexander replaces Jason Kenney as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
  • Jason Kenney replaces Diane Finley as the Minister of Employment and Social Development (formerly Human Resources and Skills Development Canada).

The Ministry of Employment and Social Development is a huge ministry, responsible for developing, managing, and delivering social programs and services.  In addition to overseeing the Labour Market Opinion aspect of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Minister Kenney will also be responsible for Employment Insurance,  the Canada Student Loans, the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, the national Homelessness Initiative, and more.  He will be managing the delivery of over $87-billion in programs and services, and will oversee approximately 24,000 employees.

In hindsight, Jason Kenney’s appointment to be Minister of Employment and Social Development is not that surprising.  On April 29, 2013, he gave a press conference regarding changes to the Labour Market Opinion program.  More recently, he gave Service Canada the power to issue what are in effect Ministerial Instructions, and he recently introduced regulatory amendments providing the Department with incredible powers to enforce foreign worker compliance.

As someone who interacts with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program on an almost daily basis, I have published below five things that I would like to see Minister Kenney change about the Labour Market Opinion process.  In making these requests I have taken into consideration the dual objectives of both protecting the Canadian labour market while ensuring that Canadian employers have flexibility to employ the people who they want.  

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Labour Market Opinions for Large Scale Franchisees

22nd Mar 2013 Comments Off on Labour Market Opinions for Large Scale Franchisees

The document below is a Service Canada internal bulletin (the “Bulletin“).

The Bulletin provides guidance to Service Canada officers regarding the processing of Labour Market Opinions from large scale franchisees seeking NOC C & D positions.  It was written in 2009, and although much of the requirements contained within now apply to all employers, however, the Bulletin does provide useful information for applicants trying to fill any NOC C&D position.

The Bulletin states that in addition to the normal LMO requirements for employers seeking to fill NOC C&D positions, the following requirements apply when the employer is a large scale franchisee:

  • the advertisement must include the employers’ operating name;
  • there must be evidence of ongoing recruitment made which include communities that face barriers to employment;
  • employers must state the number of locations for which foreign workers are being sought; and
  • the wage being paid.

As well, employers should be prepared to provide the following information:

  • the results of recruitment efforts (number of applicants, interviews conducted);
  • the number of staff currently employed, as well as the hours of operations and positions occupied by existing staff;
  • the benefits offered to existing staff; and
  • staff turnover.

Please note that the Bulletin is a copy of an official work by the Government of Canada which was obtained through an Access to Information and Privacy Act Request, and to my knowledge is not otherwise publicly available.  While I believe that the Bulletin  is still current, I cannot be assured of this.  The reproduction of this document has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.

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