Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

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In response to the growing controversy and criticism of the temporary foreign worker program, the government introduced changes to the Labour Market Opinion Process on April 29th.

–          Effective immediately, require employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility of 15%;

–          Effective immediately, temporarily suspend the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process;

–          Increase the Government’s authority to suspend and revoke work permits and Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) if the program is being misused;

–          Add questions to employer LMO applications to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs;

–          Ensure employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce over time through the LMO process;

–          Introduce fees for employers for the processing of LMOs and increase the fees for work permits so that the taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the costs; and

–          Identify English and French as the only languages that can be used as a job requirement.

Many employers rely on the Temporary Foreign Work Program and a positive LMO to meet their labour needs. However, in recent months, there has been media coverage of alleged employer abuse of the program. The two most recent controversies involved the Royal Bank of Canada, having replaced staff with an outsourcing company. The other involved a mine in Northern BC, where 200 Chinese miners were hired, where the job posting listed Chinese as a requirement. The LMO is an integral part of our immigration system, but will continue to see reforms to ensure employers are first looking locally to hire Canadians before going abroad.

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