Further improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

August 15, 2013 - All News

Staff Report
Further changes have recently been made to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in a bid to further strengthen and improve it, Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, has announced.
The government has implemented a user fee for employers applying for labour market opinions along with new language and advertising requirements for the TFWP, he said.
“Our Government’s number one priority remains jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. These additional reforms help ensure that Canadians are first in line for available jobs,” said Kenney.
“They also ensure that taxpayers no longer pay the cost of processing employer applications for temporary foreign workers.”
Chris Alexander, who has taken over as the new Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, added: “Qualified Canadians, including new Canadians, should have first crack at available jobs. These new measures demonstrate that our Government is committed to ensuring the Temporary Foreign Worker Program functions as intended.”
Effective immediately, there is a new $275 processing fee for each temporary foreign worker position that an employer requests through a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). This ensures that the cost to process employer LMO applications is no longer paid for by Canadian taxpayers.
In 2012, 60 per cent of positive LMOs did not lead to a work permit being issued to a temporary foreign worker. This means that Canadian taxpayers’ dollars were being spent to process applications that were never used, rather could have been used on useful initiatives.
With the implementation of a fee, employers will be less likely to apply for TFW positions they may not fill, helping ensure taxpayer resources are not wasted.
Further, English and French are the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement in advertisements and LMO applications by employers intending to hire temporary foreign workers.
Exceptions will be made in rare and specialized circumstances only when the employer can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job — such as for a tour guide, or translator.
Employers will now also need to make greater efforts to hire Canadians before they will be eligible to apply to hire temporary foreign workers. New advertising requirements essentially double the length and reach of employers’ advertising efforts which will increase Canadians’ awareness of available jobs.
All employers are required to advertise their positions in Canada for a minimum of four weeks, rather than two weeks, before requesting to hire temporary foreign workers.
Employers are also required to conduct additional recruitment activities. Previously, employers were required to advertise on the Government of Canada’s national Job Bank website or an equivalent provincial/territorial website, plus one additional method of recruitment consistent with the advertising practices for the occupation.
Employers are now required to use two additional methods of recruitment beyond the national Job Bank. One of these methods needs to be national in scope if hiring for a high-skill occupation.
Additional questions have also been added to all LMO applications to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.
A government release noted the reforms do not apply to on-farm primary agriculture occupations, such as those under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream.
Kenney noted further changes are under development as part of the ongoing reform of the TFWP. These include increasing the government’s authority to revoke work permits and suspend, revoke and refuse to process LMOs, and ensuring employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce.
“The reforms ensure that more employers hire Canadians before hiring temporary foreign workers,” said Kenney.  “These improvements help ensure the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is only used as intended — to fill acute skills shortages on a temporary basis.”
Going forward, the government will consider additional reforms to better balance employers’ requirements with the needs of Canadian workers, he added.
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