Federal Budget 2017 Impact on Canadian Work Permit

Canadian Federal Budget 2017 allocates funds for new Temporary Work Permit categories

Background: Federal budget tabled Wednesday, March 22, 2017

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, presented the Federal Budget 2017. Among the plethora of budget distributions made by the Liberal party, money going to boost the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) was also announced. The new funds will be used to boost the Global Skills Strategy (GSS), previously announced in the 2016 Fall Economic Statement, which will see the creation of new LMIA-exempt work permits under the International Mobility Program (IMP), and the creation of the Global Talent Stream (GTS) under the TFWP. These changes will allow several new work permit categories, with the ultimate goal of attracting top talent from around the world.

How will Canadian employers and businesses benefit?

In terms of the actual monetary allocation, the Federal Budget 2017 will see an injection of CAD$7.8 million, over two years, to allow for the implementation and processing of the Global Talent Stream (GTS) under the TFWP, as part of the overall GSS Initiative. Considering this program falls under the TFWP and not under the IMP means that these work permits will be granted based on an LMIA request processed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Furthermore, companies will also be expected to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan (LMBP) as part of the overall LMIA. However, the processing times are announced to be as low as two (2) weeks for the LMIA, and then a further 10-day work permit processing period by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The GSS is aimed at issuing work permits for those high-growth Canadian companies that need access to top talent, in order to remain competitive, create jobs, and accelerates investments. Additionally, the GSS will aim to support global companies that are relocating to Canada to establish or expand production, and implicitly creating new Canadian jobs. Clearly, it appears that a give-and-take approach is envisioned, and remains to be seen what the actual eligibility requirements for these new categories will be.

Furthermore, also under the GSS, new short-term work permit categories will be created. These types of work permits will be especially beneficial for those foreign nationals that have an urgent need to travel to Canada and engage in work, but at the same time remain on foreign payroll, thus avoiding tax compliance regulations, such as withholding requirements. The duration of stay will generally be fewer than 30 days in a year, which the government interprets will be sufficient for short-term inter-company work exchanges, or study exchanges or the entrance of temporary expertise.

Lastly, the budget also contains provisions to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) with respect to two measures. First, the IRPA is likely to be amended with respect to the management of the Express Entry system, to ensure that it is responsive to the needs of the Canadian labour market, and that most likely to succeed candidates are invited to apply. What this could mean is that future Comprehensive Rank Scoring point allocation may vary and become dynamic based on job market factors, such as National Occupational Classification codes. And secondly, the IRPA will be amended to ensure the Government is able to update and set application fees in a timely manner. Potentially, this could mean an increase in application fees or fee re-allocations based on immigration categories.

Improvements to the TFWP and the IMP

Both the TFWP and the IMP will receive additional funding from the Government, namely CAD$279.8 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, and CAD$49.8 million afterwards. These funds are allocated to ensure the continued delivery of these programs, and are granted in addition to the funds allocated to the GSS. Additionally, the Budget 2017 will also see the elimination of the CAD$1,000 LMIA application fee for families seeking to hire caregivers for persons with high medical needs. Middle class families, earning less than CAD$150,000 combined, looking to hire caregivers to provide childcare services, will also be exempted from the LMIA processing fee.

Conclusion

The Federal Budget 2017 includes more funds aimed at the management and delivery of immigration services. Perhaps the best news for Canadian employers and businesses is the allocation of funds towards the GSS program. Canadian employers will have new work permit categories at their disposal, to ensure they are able to attract top talent from around the world, in addition to being able to access international expertise in a quick and straightforward manner, bypassing the onerous LMIA process.

Contact Us:

Dale & Lessmann LLP invites you to contact our experienced Immigration Practice Group for assistance in answering questions about the TFWP, or the IMP, or the new work permit categories which will become available under GSS and CETA. Note: This blog article was updated on May 8, 2017.