Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program is now facing a legal challenge by a Labrador business couple.
The program, introduced in its reformed version in June by Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney, includes the Labour Market Opinion clause which forces employers to obtain government permission to hire foreign workers. Non-compliance of this rule can lead to a $100,000 fine and possible blacklisting for business owners (which means they cannot apply for work permits for new foreign employees).
The Labrador couple, owners of several franchises, have recently found themselves on the government blacklist, which has sparked the legal challenge.
Their complaint includes several accusations against the policies of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, including lack of reasons as to why their company was blacklisted, no warning that their company name would be listed in the public domain and not giving the couple a chance to defend their case. The couple also claims the changes were not announced in due time to allow them to adjust their procedures.
Concern is growing that Kenney’s changes may deter would-be immigrants from using the program, thus reducing responses to the government’s efforts to fill an ever-increasing skills shortage in the country.
Following Friday’s announcement by minister of employment Jason Kenney and citizenship and immigration minister Chris Alexander, the federal government will be improving foreign credential recognition for 10 priority occupations including those in the fields of skilled trades and health care.
The new priority occupations include: geoscientists, carpenters, electricians, heavy duty equipment technicians, heavy equipment operators, welders, audiologists and speech language pathologists, midwives, psychologists and lawyers.
Kenney said that occupations in the skilled trades were selected because they’re in demand in certain regions of the country. Occupations in health care were emphasized because they help address shortages in skills and improve the quality of life of Canadians.
“Skilled newcomers help fill shortages in key occupations and make an important contribution to Canada’s economy. That is why we are speeding up foreign credential recognition for 10 more occupations, including jobs in the skilled trades and health care. This means that even more new Canadians can put their skills to work sooner across Canada,” said Kenney.
These occupations are part of a national framework that aims to streamline foreign credential recognition for priority occupations. For these jobs, service standards are established so internationally trained professionals can have their qualifications assessed within one year, anywhere in Canada.
The government is building a more flexible immigration system to attract newcomers who can contribute to their communities and the economy, said Alexander. This includes the launch of Express Entry next January, “which will revolutionize the way we attract skilled immigrants and get them working here faster.”
Employment Minister Jason Kenney will announce an agreement with the provinces today to recognize 10 new occupations, including welders, carpenters and electricians, to improve foreign credential recognition.
The precise occupations include several skilled trades, a government official has said.
Kenney will provide the details this afternoon in Vancouver, while Immigration Minister Chris Alexander will make an announcement in Toronto.
The news was discussed at a meeting with provincial and territorial labour ministers last week in Charlottetown.
At the meeting, Kenney said he sought a clear commitment on apprenticeships and a specific timeline to facilitate labour mobility between provinces for skilled tradespeople.
The discussions in Charlottetown were a success and the provinces were “very positive,” a government official noted.
Last fall, there was little interest by the provinces and territories to move forward with a national approach on apprenticeships, but Kenney has been able to convince them otherwise by relaying what he learned during his trip to Germany and the UK earlier this year.
Kenney announced a major overhaul of the government’s temporary foreign worker program last month, but western premiers have complained the crackdown is unduly hurting their provinces, where there is a shortage of skilled workers in some industries.
On July 16, Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, welcomed the first two successful applicants under the Start-up Visa Program, which is designed to attract more entrepreneurs and create jobs for Canadians.
Minister Alexander met with the entrepreneurs at GrowLab Ventures Inc. of Vancouver, the Canadian business incubator that is supporting Stanislav Korsei and Oleksandr Zadorozhnyi, formerly of Ukraine, in the development of their company, Zeetl Inc.
“As part of our government’s focus on job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity, it is critical for Canada to attract the best entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world. Our government is proud to welcome the first successful applicants of the Start-up Visa Program and we look forward to the success of their venture and other opportunities that will help create more jobs for Canadians,” said Minister Alexander.
“We are very proud and excited for the founders of Zeetl as they enter this new chapter in their life here in Canada. The Start-up Visa Program enables talented foreign entrepreneurs like Stanislav and Oleksandr to grow their businesses, and is a great way for Canada to build a strong, vibrant economy.”
The Start-up Visa Program, launched in October 2013, is the first of its kind in the world. It brings together Canadian venture capital funds, angel investors and business incubators with entrepreneurs from abroad. Entrepreneurs present their business plan to Canadian private-sector firms and, if they receive support, they can apply for permanent residence in Canada.
With the Start-up Visa, Canada is targeting a new type of immigrant entrepreneur who has the potential to build innovative companies that can create jobs for Canadians and compete on a global scale. The program is part of the government’s plan to build a fast and flexible economic immigration system.
Minister Alexander said the government aims to persuade talented business people from India, Latin America and Europe to move to Canada.
“Our doors are open, our programs have integrity and we’re focusing immigration as never before on our economic needs as a country. And our reputation in the world for doing immigration well, for choosing incredible people and for helping them create successful lives in Canada … has never been stronger.”
Although it is clearly for political purposes, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party have provided a voice to speak out against Jason Kenney by supporting the Liberal Party’s call for a fair opportunity for foreign workers in Canada to obtain permanent residence.
At present, Jason Kenney, who moved from Immigration Canada to the department governing foreign workers, is in the process of (a) closing the door to foreign workers in Canada and (b) preventing Canadian employers from importing foreign workers. (He has already begun his smear campaign on imported nannies, who are the next target in his sights.).
Please express yourself on the issue by (a) signing the petition by clicking the link below, and (b) requesting your friends, colleagues and family members to sign the petition too. If you do not have a Canadian postal code, you could use Jason Kenney’s postal code: T2J-6T6.
Make your voice heard!
The temporary foreign worker program in Canada has been in question and debated on for the last several months, if not the last few years. While large and small companies in Canada were able to employ foreign workers to fill labour shortages, the program has come under major scrutiny as there have been major allegations against large employers who have taken advantage of, and abused the program. For this reason, the Canadian government has made major change to overhaul the temporary foreign worker program.
Effective immediately, the temporary foreign worker program has been reorganized into two major groups;
- Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and
- International Mobility Program
Employment and Social Development Canada has phased out the Labour Market Opinion application, and will now be calling the application a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). To better protect Canadians, and to give Canadians and permanent residents the first opportunity to fill available positions, ESDC will assess an employers’ application on the basis of the median wage in the province, and the unemployment rate in the area for which the job is offered.
Labour Market Impact Assessment Fee
As part of the significant changes, the Labour Market Impact Assessment application fee has increased significantly to $1000, from the previous $275. Employers will be required to pay this fee per position offered. Between 1973 and 2013 there was no fee for employers applying. In July of 2013 a fee of $275 was imposed. It is possible that more fees will be levied on the program, which Canada believes will ensure that employers will not be taking advantage of the program.
Using wages to determine whether an employer should be approved
The Canadian government believes that it would be more accurate to assess whether an employer should be allowed to hire a foreign worker, and not base the determination on the job or skill level itself. Therefore, temporary workers who will be paid more than the median wage in the specific province or territory will be considered in the ‘low-wage’ category, and those paid higher than the median wage will be considered in the ‘high-wage’ category.
Click Here for Median Hourly Wages by Province/Territory
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$ 20.19|
|Prince Edward Island||$ 17.26|
|Nova Scotia||$ 18.00|
|New Brunswick||$ 17.79|
|British Columbia||$ 21.79|
|Northwest Territories||$ 32.53|
Primary Categories under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
These are positions at or above the provincial/territorial median wage. This would be similar to the skilled worker category previously. These include managerial, scientific, professional and technical positions as well as the skilled trades.
These are positions below the provincial/territorial median wage. This would be similar to the previous low skilled category. Includes general labourers, food counter attendants, and sales and service personnel.
Primary Agricultural Stream
These include positions related to on-farm primary agriculture such as general farm workers, nursery and greenhouse workers, feed lot workers and harvesting labourers, including under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, which enables the entry of foreign workers from Mexico and a number of Caribbean countries to meet the temporary, seasonal needs of agricultural producers.
Highest-demand, highest-paid or shortest-duration
This includes in-demand occupations (skilled trades), highly paid occupations (top 10%) or short-duration (120 days or less). Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) applications for this category are to be processed within 10 business days.
Live-in Caregiver Program
No change. This program allows qualified employers to hire caregivers to provide unsupervised and full-time care for children, seniors or people with disabilities in the private residence of those employers.
International Mobility Program
Unlike the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the International Mobility Program (IMP) is not based on employer demand. It is rather based largely on the multilateral and bilateral agreements with other countries (ie; NAFTA, GATS).
Just as it was previously, employers are not required to obtain an approval to employ the foreign worker, and therefore are not subject the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
As of June 1, 2014
There is a new immigration program for International Students in Nova Scotia. The province of Nova Scotia has opened a new immigration program allowing international students an option to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Beginning on June 1, 2014 students who have graduated from a Canadian college or university and have a job offer from an employer in Nova Scotia may now qualify to apply for permanent residence.
The new pathway to Canadian permanent residency is an excellent option as it will allow graduates to think about their future in Canada so they may contribute to the Canadian economy.
Students must have completed a college or university study program, but there is no requirement for them to have studied in the province of Nova Scotia. Ultimately, allowing students from all over Canada to relocate to Nova Scotia, assuming they have a job offer. Similar to all other skilled worker streams, the job offer must be in a skilled occupation (level O, A or B of the National Occupation Classification). Once nominated by Nova Scotia, an application to the federal government made as a skilled worker must be submitted.
Applying for nomination and permanent residence through the new Nova Scotia program
If you have graduated (or will graduate soon), and you have a job offered to you, we highly recommend to contact our office for a free consultation and assessment to determine your eligibility for this program. While the Nova Scotia program may approve and nominate you for permanent residence, the federal government of Canada, Citizenship & Immigration Canada will make the final decision to grant the visa. Call our offices to speak with an immigration representative at no charge or obligation.
No more exemption from recruitment efforts for employers hiring students on Post-Graduation Work Permits
As of today, and effective immediately, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is now requiring all employers, whether hiring temporary foreign workers from abroad, or those local in Canada on post-graduation work permits to provide evidence of recruitment efforts.
Prior to today, employers who were hiring international graduates on post-graduation work permits were exempt from having to advertise and provide proof of recruitment efforts. As of today, ESDC has ended the exemption.
Employers who wish to submit Labour Market Opinion (LMO) applications must meet all requirements of the applicable stream under which they are submitting an application.
For more information on employing temporary foreign workers whether they are in Canada or abroad, please contact our office.
Today marks an important day for Canada’s immigration system. As of May 1st, 2014 Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker program re-opens with a new list of eligible occupations. If you did not qualify in the past, it is possible that you may qualify now.
The Federal Skilled Worker program is a very popular program, and for this reason, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has limited the overall number of applications they will accept to 25,000 between May 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015. Within the overall cap, a maximum of 1000 applications will be accepted per eligible occupation.
- Have one (1) year of continuous full-time (or an equal amount of continuous part-time) paid work experience in one of the 50 eligible occupations, OR
- Have a valid job offer or arranged employment from a Canadian employer, OR
- Be an international student who is enrolled in a PhD program in Canada (or who graduated from a Canadian PhD program within the past 12 months)
Click Here for a List of Eligible Occupations
- 0013 Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services
- 0015 Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services, n.e.c.
- 0111 Financial managers
- 0112 Human resources managers
- 0113 Purchasing managers
- 0121 Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers
- 0311 Managers in health care
- 0711 Construction managers
- 0712 Home building and renovation managers
- 0811 Managers in natural resources production and fishing
- 0911 Manufacturing managers
- 1111 Financial auditors and accountants
- 1112 Financial and investment analysts
- 1113 Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers
- 1114 Other financial officers
- 1123 Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
- 1212 Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers
- 1224 Property administrators
- 2113 Geoscientists and oceanographers
- 2131 Civil engineers
- 2132 Mechanical engineers
- 2133 Electrical and electronics engineers
- 2145 Petroleum engineers
- 2171 Information systems analysts and consultants
- 2172 Database analysts and data administrators
- 2173 Software engineers and designers
- 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
- 2232 Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians
- 2234 Construction estimators
- 2241 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
- 2243 Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
- 2263 Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety
- 2281 Computer network technicians
- 3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
- 3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
- 3111 Specialist physicians
- 3112 General practitioners and family physicians
- 3132 Dietitians and nutritionists
- 3141 Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
- 3142 Physiotherapists
- 3143 Occupational Therapists
- 3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
- 3215 Medical Radiation Technologists
- 3216 Medical Sonographers
- 3233 Licensed practical nurses
- 3234 Paramedical occupations
- 4011 University professors and lecturers
- 4151 Psychologists
- 4214 Early childhood educators and assistants
- 5125 Translators, terminologists and interpreters
There are other requirements such as age (the younger the better) and providing evidence of your work and education history (the more the better).
Remember that there Canadian government will only accept a limited number of applications, so it would be in your best interest to apply as soon as possible.
If you are interested in a free, preliminary assessment to determine your eligibility for this program contact Nir Rozenberg by calling our offices at 416-665-3939 or toll-free 1-888-808-7338.
For international students and foreign workers in Canada, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), has long been the best route to permanent resident (PR) status in Canada. However, recent changes to the Canadian Experience Class may disqualify you from the program if you do not meet the new requirements or if your occupation is on the list of jobs that will no longer be accepted into the program.
As part of the changes to the Canadian Experience Class – which were put into place on November 9, 2013 – the following occupations will no longer be eligible to apply under the CEC program:
- Cooks – NOC 6322
- Food service supervisors – NOC 6311
- Administrative officers – NOC 1221
- Administrative assistants – NOC 1241
- Accounting technicians and bookkeepers – NOC 1311
- Retail sales supervisors – NOC 6211
If your work experience falls into one of the above NOC codes, you will no longer be eligible to apply for the Canadian Experience Class. However, our consultants at Can-Am Immigration can assist you in finding an alternate method of obtaining permanent resident status in Canada so give us a call to find out more about your options.
For the rest of you, whose NOC code is not listed above, it is important to note that there has been a cap put into effect which will limit the number of Canadian Experience Class applications to be accepted each year. A total of 12,000 CEC applications will be accepted in all eligible NOC codes, but that is not all. Sub-caps have been placed on all occupations in skill level B; this cap limits each of these occupations to only 200 per year. Occupations in NOC level 0 and A do not have sub-caps but are still subject to the total cap of 12,000 applications per year. Even if certain jobs in skill level B do not reach the 200 maximum cap for that skill level, they will still be counted towards the total of 12,000. That means that potential CEC applicants need to keep an eye out on both the sub-cap for their occupation and on the total cap for the entire Canadian Experience Class. As of today, the total number of applications received out of the 12,000 allowed is only 461. This is good news for those of you who are still putting together your application as there are many spaces still available. However, we highly recommend that you do not delay too much longer as more and more people are preparing and filing their applications as we speak. Keep in mind that any applications submitted with mistakes or missing information will be returned to you. For this reason, it is best to hire a skilled consultant to assist you in the preparation of your file.
Our highly trained group of immigration consultants at Can-Am Immigration can help you prepare and submit your CEC application in a timely and effective manner to avoid delays or return of your application. To find out whether you qualify for the Canadian Experience Class, call our office to speak with a regulated immigration consultant today. We will assess your situation and help you prepare the best file possible for success. While there are still many positions open at this time, this can change quickly so do not delay. Give our office a call today and get started on your road to permanent resident status.