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CANADA: New Rules for the Canadian Labour Market Opinion Process

The Canadian TFWP came under scrutiny recently following media coverage of the large-scale hiring by a major Canadian bank of temporary foreign workers, a practice that has been labeled as outsourcing Canadian jobs and displacing Canadian workers. The changes announced on April 29, 2013, by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, affect the process for obtaining an LMO from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, a process that allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers by demonstrating that there is a need for the temporary foreign worker and no Canadian worker available to fulfill the requirements of the position.

Details of all of the changes to the TFWP have yet to be released, but some of the major changes have been made public. In the past, employers could pay temporary foreign workers up to 15% below the prevailing wage rate for high-skilled occupations and up to 5% below the prevailing wage rate for low-skilled occupations. After the changes, employers must pay the prevailing wage rate for all professions. As noted above, the A-LMO has been suspended.

The efforts that employers must undertake to recruit Canadians as part of obtaining an LMO are expected to become more extensive in terms of the length and scope of advertising positions. Employers who hire many temporary foreign workers due to a shortage of qualified Canadians must demonstrate that they have a plan in place to transition to a fully Canadian workforce in the future. Employers will no longer be able to list fluency in non-official languages as required for positions. Furthermore, employers can expect new questions on the LMO forms regarding outsourcing or offshoring. They may be required to complete additional forms that ask the employer to provide information on contractual arrangements related to outsourcing or offshoring and how Canadians within the company have been affected by temporary foreign workers working for the company.

As part of the proposed changes, the government will have increased authority to suspend and revoke work permits and LMOs. Finally, user fees will be introduced for employers to apply for an LMO. The fee for the Canadian work permit, now set at $150, is expected to increase as well.

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