February 21, 2014

Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Posted by admin - Bellissimo Law Group PC

On February 11, 2014 the Government announced its changes to the Federal Budget. Among these changes were new limits that will be placed on the TFWP (Temporary Foreign Worker Program). The government plans to limit the use of Temporary Foreign Workers in “high-unemployment regions”.

The government proposed funneling $11 million dollars over two years, and $3.5 million per year ongoing to “strengthen the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process to ensure Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.”

Mario D. Bellissimo asked an important question: “how do you define unemployment by category and by region?”  If the Government limits the program’s use in places where there is a high unemployment rate, it could leave businesses in those regions without a practical way to recruit skilled workers in a reasonable time frame.

Canadian businesses often turn to the TFWP to acquire workers with science and technology skills who may not be present in high-employment regions.  Mario D. Bellissimo also stated that “placing limits on the program could have a lot of unintended consequences if the changes are too broadly drawn”.

Although, the budget did not provide comprehensive particulars; it did however promise to amend the program in several other ways including but not limited to:

  • Ways to identify vulnerable workers;
  • Improving processing times for certain applications;
  • Ensuring better employer compliance to government terms for the program; and
  • Making changes to the stream of applicants who are exempt from the Employment and Social Development Canada’s Labour Market Opinion process.

The government also plans to impose a $275 user fee per position to ensure full cost of recovery under the LMO process.  They plan to revisit the rules for companies with which Canada has a free-trade agreement.  The North American free trade agreement contains a clause providing for intra-company transfers.  This makes it difficult to make any changes without violating the terms of the agreement.

The changes to the TFWP outside of the LMO process are still being discussed.

To read the full article featuring Mario D. Bellissimo’s comments please click here.