The federal government is realigning the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to better meet labour market demands and support the economic recovery, according to Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development.
It is looking at ways to make sure businesses recruit from the domestic workforce before hiring temporary foreign workers, while also reducing the paper burden and speeding up the processing time for employers that have short-term skilled labour needs.
Employers with a strong track record will receive an Accelerated-Labour Market Opinion (A-LMO) within 10 business days to hire temporary foreign workers in high-skill occupations, including the skilled trades. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program will become more responsive to skills and labour shortages and employers will have less red tape.
In addition, the government will propose legislative amendments to further strengthen protections for temporary foreign workers and ensure employers comply with program requirements.
The new streamlined, attestation-based model, the A-LMO, launched April 25 and features:
•a simplified online application process
•faster and timelier processing for employers with a good history
•risk-based and random in-depth compliance reviews of employers after LMOs are issued
•enhanced automation to reduce paperwork and improve capacity to track compliance and share information
•a call centre support for employers.
Employers will have to consent to post-LMO reviews to verify compliance with the TFWP requirements (such as making all reasonable efforts to recruit from the domestic labour force and providing wages and working conditions that are consistent with Canadian standards). Human Resources and Skills Development Canada will closely monitor employer compliance and take action when necessary to protect temporary foreign workers.
The A-LMO will cover high-skill occupations, including the skilled trades, and be open to employers across Canada. Through a tested and measured implementation, the A-LMO may gradually be expanded to include risk-based processing for all occupations and components of the TFWP.
A new wage structure will also be introduced to provide employers with greater flexibility. Wages that are up to 15 per cent below the average wage for an occupation in a specific region will be accepted; however, employers must clearly demonstrate the wage is consistent with that of Canadian workers based on Statistics Canada data.
The government has said it is also working in partnership with the provinces and territories, and other stakeholders, to further improve foreign credential recognition, so internationally trained workers are able to find meaningful employment.
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