Key Changes to Temporary Foreign Works (TFW) Program

By Alfred Kempf
Categories: Blog, Employment Law
  1. Program name change from Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) to Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”);
  2. Caps on percentages of foreign workers starting at 30% and reducing to 10% in 2016;
  3. Prohibition of TFW in low wage and skill groups in areas in certain sectors (food services, accommodation and retail trade) where there is high unemployment (6% or higher). The current unemployment rate in the Thompson Okanagan region is 7.1%; Introduction of low-wage and high-wage distinction of workers;
  4. Registration fee increase from $275 to $1000 per employee;
  5. Employers hiring TFW must commit to not displacing Canadian works and must disclose the numbers of Canadians who applied for and interviewed for the jobs;
  6. Duration the term of employment reduced to one year from two;
  7. Employers seeking to hire high-wage temporary foreign workers (with very limited exceptions) will now be required to submit transition plans to show how they will hire Canadians, including through higher wages, investments in training and more active recruitment efforts from within Canada;
  8. “Massively” increased inspections;
  9. Employer Compliance Review, employers may be required to submit to an inspection where they will need to provide, where applicable, six years of employment information;
  10. Employer who break the rules or is suspected of breaking the rules will have their LMIA suspended until the investigation is completed and if allegations are founded their LMIA will be cancelled, no further work permits will be issued and the current work permits tied to this LMIA will also be revoked;
  11. If the Employer is found to have broken the rules, the Employer will be placed on a Blacklist website available to the public, also they will be subject to increased fines for infractions up to $100,000;
  12. On farm agriculture is exempt from the cap, fee, and one year duration;
  13. Employers of Live-in Caregivers are exempt from the cap, one year duration;
  14. Employers seeking low-wage or high-wage workers are still required to advertise in three locations for a minimum of four weeks and must also include recruiting at organizations serving groups traditionally underrepresented in the workforce (e.g. new immigrants, Aboriginal people, youth, Canadians with disabilities) to fill available jobs. Employment and Social Development Canada will assist employers by providing them with contacts at these organizations;
  15. Changes to the Intra-Company Transferee Specialized Knowledge program;
  16. Introduction of a “Privilege Fee” imposed on Open Work application;
  17. Job Matching facilitated by the Service Canada Job Bank website.

Changes Effective Immediately:

  • LMIA fee
  • Introduction of Cap
  • High-wage transition plan
  • New guidelines for intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge
  • 10-day processing time for certain occupations

Alf Kempf is the Chair of Pushor Mitchell’s Employment Law Group. He can be reached at 250-869-1215 or kempf@pushormitchell.com.