SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Government of Canada cracks down on abuse of Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Employers who break the rules have labour market opinions suspended or revoked and are placed on public blacklist

OTTAWA, April 7, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, announced the Government has publically listed employers who have had their labour market opinions (LMOs) revoked or suspended. The LMOs issued to The Boathouse Restaurant in Fenelon Falls, Ontario have been revoked, and LMOs issued to Jungle Jim's Restaurant and Greco Pizza in Labrador, Newfoundland and to McDonald's Restaurant franchises in Victoria, British Columbia have been suspended.

The Government of Canada recently introduced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program allowing the Government to suspend or revoke the LMOs of employers found to be, or suspected to be, non-compliant with program requirements. The names of employers whose LMOs are suspended or revoked will also be added to a new public "blacklist."

The Government is using its authority to suspend and revoke LMOs when the program is being misused or when employers do not use the program as intended.

A revoked LMO can no longer be used by a temporary foreign worker to obtain a work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). In addition, CIC may also revoke any outstanding work permits. A suspended LMO cannot be used by a temporary foreign worker to obtain a work permit from CIC while a thorough investigation is being completed. Any employer with a suspended LMO who is found to have broken the rules of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program following the investigation will have their LMO revoked.

As announced in Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government is continuing to take action to reform the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure that Canadians are always first in line for available jobs. Most recently, the Government of Canada announced plans to introduce legislative amendments through Budget Implementation Act 1 to give the Government the authority to levy significant fines on employers who break the rules of the program.

Quick Facts

  • Previous Government of Canada action to ensure employers are meeting the conditions of the program includes:
    • conducting on-site inspections to make sure employers are meeting the conditions of the program;
    • banning non-compliant employers from the program for two years and immediately adding their names to a public "blacklist;"
    • requiring employers who legitimately rely on temporary foreign workers due to a lack of qualified Canadian applicants to have a plan to transition to a Canadian workforce over time;
    • requiring employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility;
    • adding questions to employer LMO applications to ensure that the program is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs;
    • introducing fees for employers for LMO processing, and increasing the fees for work permits, so that hard-working taxpayers are no longer subsidizing these costs;
    • making English and French the only languages that can be used as a job requirement when hiring through the temporary foreign workers process;
    • suspending the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process; and
    • introducing significant financial penalties for employers who break the rules (Budget Implementation Act 1).

Quote

"Canadians must always be first in line for available jobs. Our government will not tolerate any abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Today's announcement sends a clear message that we are taking action against employers who abuse the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and that employers who break the rules will be publically named and face serious consequences."
- The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development

Associated Links

The blacklist of employers who have broken the rules or been suspended
Statement by the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development (April 6, 2014)
Temporary Foreign Worker Program New Regulations and Ministerial Instructions
Harper Government announces reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program - Ensuring Canadians have first chance at available jobs (April 29, 2013)
Further improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (August 7, 2013)
Further reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (December 28, 2013)

Backgrounder

Effective December 2013, amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) have been put in place to strengthen the integrity of the program by providing Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) with additional authorities to ensure employers are complying with program requirements.

Also, since December 2013, Ministerial Instructions allow ESDC to revoke or suspend LMOs or to refuse to process LMO applications.

A revoked labour market opinion (LMO) means that one or more positions on an LMO is being permanently cancelled. This means that it can no longer be used by a temporary foreign worker to obtain a work permit from CIC. In addition, CIC may also revoke any outstanding work permits once the LMO has been revoked.

An LMO may be revoked if:

  • new information becomes available after the opinion is provided indicating that the employment of the foreign national under the work permit is having or will have a significant negative effect on the labour market in Canada;
  • the employer or group of employers provided false, misleading or inaccurate information in the context of the request for that opinion; and/or
  • the employer's name has been added to the list referred to in subsection 209.91(3) of the IRPR.

A suspended LMO means that one or more positions on an LMO is being temporarily put on hold. This means that during that time it can no longer be used by a temporary foreign worker to obtain a work permit from CIC.

An LMO may be suspended if:

  • there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the employer or group of employers provided false, misleading or inaccurate information in the context of the request for that opinion;
  • new information becomes available after the positive opinion is provided and if known at that time would have led to a different opinion;
  • there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the employer is not complying with the conditions set out in subsection 209.3 or 209.4 of the IRPR in respect of that work permit or any other work permit, and the failure to do so may not be justified under one or the other of those sections; and/or
  • the employer's name has been added to the list referred to in subsection 209.91(3) of the IRPR.

In April 2013, the Government announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that:

  • require employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility;
  • suspend the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (A-LMO) process;
  • increase the Government's authority to suspend and revoke work permits and LMOs if the program is being misused or when employers don't use the program as intended;
  • add questions to employer LMO applications to ensure that the program is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs;
  • ensure employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce over time;
  • introduce fees for employers for the processing of LMOs and increase the fees for work permits so that the taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the costs; and
  • identify English and French as the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement.

To further strengthen the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Government is introducing legislative amendments providing authority to set out an administrative monetary penalty system in regulations through the Budget Implementation Act 1.

Anyone wishing to report an anonymous tip related to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program can do so by calling 1-800-367-5693 or sending an email to [email protected].


SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

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