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Ensuring Canadians are first in line for available jobs
OTTAWA, June 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, and Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced a comprehensive overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
This balanced package of reforms will ensure the TFWP is only used as intended, as a last and limited resort to fill acute labour shortages on a temporary basis when qualified Canadians are not available.
By limiting access to the program, tightening the labour market assessment and implementing stronger enforcement with tougher penalties for employers who break the rules, businesses will have to make greater efforts to recruit and train Canadians for available jobs, including increasing wages.
To offer greater clarity and transparency, the current TFWP is being reorganized and new International Mobility Programs (IMPs) are being created. The TFWP will now refer to those streams under which foreign workers enter Canada at the request of employers following approval through a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The new IMPs will incorporate those streams in which foreign nationals are not subject to an LMIA, and whose primary objective is to advance Canada's broad economic and cultural national interest, rather than filling particular jobs. These reorganized programs will improve accountability, with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) being the lead department for the TFWP, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) the lead department for the IMPs. In addition, ESDC will publicly post data on the number of positions for temporary foreign workers approved through the TFWP on a quarterly basis, and will post the names of corporations that receive permission to hire temporary foreign workers through LMIAs.
Reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program:
The costs for administering the TFWP, including all of the reforms outlined above, will be borne entirely by employers who use the program, not by taxpayers. As a result, the LMIA fee is increasing from $275 to $1,000 for every temporary foreign worker position requested by an employer. ESDC will be seeking the authority to impose an estimated $100 privilege fee on employers applying for LMIAs to offset the costs of Government of Canada investments in skills and job training.
On-farm primary agriculture, including the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), is exempt from the fee and the cap, along with the one-year LMIA duration and the reduction in the period that a low-wage temporary foreign worker will be allowed to remain in Canada, as there are proven acute labour shortages in this sector and the unfilled jobs are truly temporary. The Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) is exempt from the cap, the one-year LMIA and the reduced duration in Canada. All other measures including stronger enforcement and tougher penalties apply to on-farm primary agriculture, SAWP and LCP.
With the reforms of the TFWP, the Government of Canada is ending the moratorium that was placed on the food services sector effective immediately. For more information, please visit: www.esdc.gc.ca/TFWP.
Reforms to the International Mobility Programs
Previously part of the TFWP, the IMPs will refer to those foreign workers who are not subject to an LMIA. It is in the national economic and cultural interest of Canada for foreign nationals to be able to work here through the IMPs. Exemptions to the LMIA process are based on the competitive advantages and reciprocal benefits that Canadians enjoy as a result. They exist as part of international agreements, arrangements that facilitate permanent immigration, or due to efforts to give Canada access to highly-skilled workers and international students.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is reforming the IMPs. Specifically, CIC is:
"Our government has been clear that Canadians must be first in line for
available jobs. These comprehensive and balanced reforms restore the
Temporary Foreign Worker Program to its original purpose-as a last and
limited resource for employers when there are no qualified Canadians to
fill available jobs. Employers will be compelled to redouble their
efforts to recruit and train Canadians. These reforms will
significantly reduce the number of temporary foreign workers in Canada
and improve labour market information, while strengthening enforcement
and penalties for those who break the rules."
- The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development
"The reforms announced today will maximize the competitive advantages
and reciprocal benefits of Canada's International Mobility Program. The
strengthened enforcement of the rules of both the Temporary Foreign
Worker Program and the newly named International Mobility Program will
go a long way to ensure that employers are playing by the rules and
that those who aren't will be held accountable. Our government is proud
of our strong permanent immigration record, and we will ensure that
those working in Canada on a temporary basis are only hired when it is
in the best interest of our country."
- Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
Image with caption: "Key changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program (CNW Group/Employment and Social Development Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140620_C8221_PHOTO_EN_41640.jpg
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