I did the same quite some time ago and got this lengthy reply:
On behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, I am responding to your email, which the office of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Honourable Chris Alexander, forwarded to him on February 5, 2014. You wrote concerning the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and foreign helicopter pilots. I regret the delay in replying.
The TFWP is legislated through the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations and is jointly administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). ESDC reviews applications from employers who wish to hire temporary foreign workers and issues an opinion on the likely impact these workers would have on the Canadian labour market. Meanwhile, CIC reviews applications from temporary foreign workers, issues visas and authorizes work permits.
The TFWP assists employers in filling their genuine labour requirements when qualified Canadians and permanent residents are not available. The Program is driven by employer demand and is an option of last resort for employers to address immediate skills and labour needs on a temporary basis. In fact, employers who wish to use the TFWP must comply with strict program criteria to ensure that the entry of a temporary foreign worker will not have an adverse effect on the Canadian labour market.
As part of the labour market opinion (LMO) assessment process, ESDC looks at available labour market information for the region and for the occupation, and considers the following:
· the efforts made by an employer to recruit or train Canadians or permanent residents;
· whether hiring a foreign worker will result in transferring skills or knowledge to Canadians, or in creating or retaining employment for Canadians;
· whether a temporary foreign worker is likely to fill a labour shortage;
· whether the wages and working conditions are in accordance with the norms for the occupation;
· whether the employment of a foreign national is likely to adversely affect the settlement of any labour dispute that may be in progress; and
· whether an employer-employee relationship exists in which the foreign worker agrees to work full time for an employer for a specific wage or salary.
A negative LMO will be issued if an assessment indicates that hiring a temporary foreign worker will have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market or if an employer has not complied with TFWP policies. The LMOs and work permits are issued for specific durations, and workers are expected to return to their home countries once their work permits have expired.
Over the last several months, ESDC and CIC have been doing a comprehensive review of the TFWP in order to ensure that Canadians and permanent residents are first in line for available jobs, and that the Program is aligned with today’s labour market needs.
As part of the review, the Government announced several changes, which include:
· requiring employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility;
· temporarily suspending the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process;
· increasing the Government’s authority to revoke work permits and suspend, revoke and refuse to process LMOs;
· ensuring that employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place for a transition to a Canadian work force over time through the LMO process;
· introducing a $275 processing fee for each temporary foreign worker position that an employer requests through an LMO so that taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the costs;
· restricting employers from requiring languages other than English and French as a job requirement, unless they can demonstrate that another language is a bona fide requirement for the job;
· adding questions on the LMO application form to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs;
· modifying the advertising requirements, to almost double the length and reach of employers’ advertising efforts; and
· amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to strengthen program integrity by providing enhanced inspection powers to verify employer compliance with the program requirements. These amendments came into force on December 31, 2013.
The results of these changes will strengthen and improve the TFWP to support Canada’s economic recovery and growth, and ensure that more employers hire and train available Canadians before turning to temporary foreign workers.
ESDC takes the integrity of the TFWP very seriously. Under theImmigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, the Government of Canada has the authority to review the actions of employers. Let me assure you that the Department is following up on your concerns to the full extent of its authorities.
I hope that this information is helpful in addressing your concerns. Thank you for writing and for sharing this information.
Temporary Foreign Worker Directorate
Skills and Employment Branch
Employment and Social Development Canada