The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, recently announced reforms to strengthen and improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada has now implemented a user fee for employers applying for labour market opinions along with new language and advertising requirements for the TFWP.
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 Minister Kenney. “
They also ensure that taxpayers no longer pay the cost of processing employer applications for temporary foreign workers.”
Qualified Canadians, including new Canadians, should have first crack at available jobs,” said the Honourable Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. “
These new measures demonstrate that our Government is committed to ensuring the Temporary Foreign Worker Program functions as intended.”
The following reforms are now in effect, as of July 31, 2013:
- 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 percent 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.
- 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 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.
- Additional questions have been added to all LMO applications to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.
It is important to note that these reforms do not apply to on-farm primary agriculture occupations, such as those under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream.
These improvements to the TFWP are in addition to changes announced in April.
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 announced today and in recent months further strengthen the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and ensure that more employers hire Canadians before hiring temporary foreign workers,” said Minister 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 of Canada will consider additional reforms to better balance employers’ requirements with the needs of Canadian workers.
More information about the reforms is available in the Backgrounder.
The following reforms came into effect on July 31, 2013:
Under Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada announced that it would introduce fees for employers applying to hire temporary foreign workers through the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process. Previously, there was no cost for employers to apply for an LMO.
Employers are required to pay a $275 fee for each temporary foreign worker position they request through an LMO. This ensures that the administrative costs of the program are paid by employers and are no longer subsidized by taxpayers. The amount of the fee has been determined so as to minimize the cost to taxpayers while ensuring that the fee does not exceed the cost of providing the service. It is Government of Canada policy that employers not recover the fee from temporary foreign workers.
The fee is charged per position, rather than per application, as an equitable way to ensure that larger businesses that make extensive use of the program pay more than smaller businesses that make less use of it. Employers pay the fee at the time they submit their LMO application.
This will also help avoid employers applying for TFWs that they may never use. In 2012, 60 percent of TFW positions applied for were never filled. This was a waste of valuable taxpayers resources that could have been better used.
There is no refund in the event of a negative LMO or if the application is withdrawn or cancelled, since it is a processing fee and not related to the outcome. Refunds will only be made if a fee was collected in error (e.g. an incorrect fee amount was processed).
English and French are the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement both in advertisements by employers intending to hire temporary foreign workers and in LMO applications.
Advertising requirements are the primary mechanism used to ensure that Canadians are aware of these employment opportunities and the language restriction will help ensure that Canadians are given every opportunity to apply for available jobs.
Exceptions will be made on 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 need to make greater efforts to hire Canadians before they are eligible to apply to hire temporary foreign workers. The new advertising requirements essentially double the length and reach of employers’ advertising efforts, increasing Canadians awareness of and ability to apply for 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. The four-week requirement applies to all advertising methods used by the employer.
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. Employers hiring for low-skill occupations need to demonstrate that they have made efforts to target under-represented groups in the work force, such as youth or people with disabilities.
Additionally, employers are required to continue actively seeking qualified Canadians to fill the advertised position(s) from the time the LMO application is submitted to when it is approved.
There are numerous sites to help employers with their recruitment needs and help Canadian workers find jobs. For a list of additional employment sites, visit Job Bank at www.jobbank.gc.ca/othsite-eng.aspx.
Added questions to LMO application
As of July 31, 2013, all employers applying for an LMO are required to respond to additional questions on their use of temporary foreign workers to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.
For all LMO applications, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program assesses the impact that hiring a temporary foreign worker will have on Canada’s labour market based on available labour market information for the region and occupation. These additional questions will ensure that program officers have the information they need to make decisions regarding LMO applications.
A negative LMO is issued if an assessment indicates that hiring a temporary foreign worker will have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market or if an employer has not complied with the program requirements.
For more information on the above reforms, visit www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers.