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Ottawa, Ontario, August 7, 2013 —The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, today announced reforms to strengthen and improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada has now implemented a user fee for employers applying for labour market opinions along with new language and advertising requirements for the TFWP.
“Our Government’s number one priority remains jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. These additional reforms help ensure that Canadians are first in line for available jobs,” said Minister Kenney. “They also ensure that taxpayers no longer pay the cost of processing employer applications for temporary foreign workers.”
“Qualified Canadians, including new Canadians, should have first crack at available jobs,” said the Honourable Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. “These new measures demonstrate that our Government is committed to ensuring the Temporary Foreign Worker Program functions as intended.”
The following reforms are now in effect, as of July 31, 2013:
A new $275 processing fee for each temporary foreign worker position that an employer requests through a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). This ensures that the cost to process employer LMO applications is no longer paid for by Canadian taxpayers. In 2012, 60 percent of positive LMOs did not lead to a work permit being issued to a temporary foreign worker. This means that Canadian taxpayers’ dollars were being spent to process applications that were never used, rather could have been used on useful initiatives. With the implementation of a fee, employers will be less likely to apply for TFW positions they may not fill, helping ensure taxpayer resources are not wasted.
English and French are the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement in advertisements and LMO applications by employers intending to hire temporary foreign workers. Exceptions will be made in rare and specialized circumstances only when the employer can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job, such as for a tour guide or translator.
Employers will now need to make greater efforts to hire Canadians before they will be eligible to apply to hire temporary foreign workers. New advertising requirements essentially double the length and reach of employers’ advertising efforts which will increase Canadians’ awareness of available jobs.
Additional questions have been added to all LMO applications to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.
It is important to note that these reforms do not apply to on-farm primary agriculture occupations, such as those under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream.
These improvements to the TFWP are in addition to changes announced in April.
Further changes are under development as part of the ongoing reform of the TFWP. These include increasing the Government’s authority to revoke work permits and suspend, revoke and refuse to process LMOs, and ensuring employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce.
“The reforms announced today and in recent months further strengthen the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and ensure that more employers hire Canadians before hiring temporary foreign workers,” said Minister Kenney. “These improvements help ensure the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is only used as intended—to fill acute skills shortages on a temporary basis.”
Going forward, the Government of Canada will consider additional reforms to better balance employers’ requirements with the needs of Canadian workers.
More information about the reforms is available in the Backgrounder.
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