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Major Changes to Canadian Immigration Policy: Temporary Foreign Worker Program

June 20, 2014

On June 20, 2014, Ministers Jason Kenney and Chris Alexander held a press conference to discuss the changes that will be implemented in Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The term TFWP now only refers to the program governing the issuance of those who need Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs), formerly known as Labour Market Opinions (LMOs). LMIA-exempt work permit applications now fall under the International Mobility Program (IMP). Here is what every Canadian employer needs to know about the new TFWP:

  • The moratorium on restaurants accessing the TFWP has been lifted, and those with LMOs that were previously suspended under the moratorium are now reactivated.
  • The TFWP processing fee will be increased from $274 to $1,000 per position.
  • As part of an application for an LMIA, employers will be required to disclose the specific number of Canadians that applied for the position, how many were interviewed, and why those applicants were rejected.
  • Employers who obtain LMIAs will be prohibited from laying off or reducing the hours of Canadians.
  • Instead of classifying workers by skill level, workers will now be classified by wage level. 
  • LMIAs for high wage roles will require that employers implement Transition Plans to outline commitments to recruit, retain and train Canadians and permanent residents, and to assist Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) to become permanent residents, if a positive LMIA is issued.
  • Applications for LMIAs for the highest-demand occupations (skilled trades), the highest-paid occupations (top 10%) or shortest duration work permits (120 days or less) will be processed within 10 business days.
  • LMIAs for low wage roles will be limited to one year in duration, down from two years.
  • Workers in Canada under an LMIA for a low wage job will be permitted to remain in Canada for a maximum of two years, down from four years.
  • Employers with 10 or more employees who apply for a new LMIA will be subject to a cap of 10% on the proportion of their workforce that can be low wage TFWs. Those who currently exceed the cap will have until July 1, 2015 to get their proportion down to 20%, and until July 1, 2016 to reach 10%.
  • In regions where unemployment is above 6%, there will be no access to the TFWP for low wage roles in non-tradable service sectors, such as in the food service industry.
  • One in four businesses who use the TFWP can expect to be inspected for compliance to the Program’s requirements, and will be required to adhere to many more conditions than previously.
  • Penalties for employers who are found to be non-compliant with the TFWP will be strengthened.

Dale & Lessmann LLP invites you to contact our Immigration Practice Group for assistance in navigating the complex new requirements of the TFWP.

Tags: Canadian Business Immigration


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