ESDC's Interpretation Policy

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Commitment to serving businesses better

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) provides clear and consistent interpretation of departmental regulations in plain language, to the best of the department's ability, to enable business to best meet regulatory requirements; consistent with the Government's Red Tape Reduction Action Plan. This commitment also applies to regulations relating to program areas shared with other government departments where ESDC is the department of first contact. This policy has four pillars:

  1. Predictability
  2. Service
  3. Stakeholder engagement, and
  4. Improvement

Guiding principles

The ESDC Interpretation Policy is underpinned by the department's mission to build a stronger and more competitive Canada, to support Canadians in making choices that help them live productive and rewarding lives and to improve Canadians' quality of life. Furthermore, this policy and all other departmental regulatory initiatives are guided by the Government's Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management.

Departmental context

ESDC, including Service Canada, continues to adapt to an ever-changing environment, which is characterized by significant demographic changes in Canadian society, global economic conditions that impact social and economic opportunities for Canadians, and rising service expectations by Canadians. Implementation of the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan is undertaken within the broader context of continuously advancing key Government priorities, and streamlining the delivery of services to Canadians in areas of shared departmental responsibility such as improving the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to complement the regional needs of Canada's employers, in addition to ensuring an efficient Canadian labour market, and modernizing department interventions and transforming service delivery to achieve better results for Canadians. The Labour Program, while a part of ESDC, has also separately provided its commitments to providing clear and consistent interpretation of its regulations through its Interpretation Policy – Labour Program.

Disclaimer

Nothing in this Interpretation Policy supersedes, overrides, or binds courts or tribunals. Furthermore, this Interpretation Policy does not constitute legal advice.

1. Predictability

Plain language commitment

  • ESDC provides consistent and predictable regulatory interpretation by using clear and concise language to communicate the intent of regulatory requirements. Adjustments or improvements to guidance occur periodically to reflect regulatory changes or feedback from affected stakeholders.

Providing guidance and building awareness

  • ESDC builds awareness by publishing a Two-Year Forward Regulatory Plan twice a year on the Department's intent to introduce or change regulations, including those which affect business.
  • Where possible, ESDC ensures consistency in program administration across Canada through program guidance documents which are shared across organizations and with stakeholders via open and timely communication.

Responding to questions

  • ESDC generally responds in the manner chosen by the client: i.e. interpretation in writing is provided to written requests.
    1. through Service Canada call centres (1-800-O-Canada) and other specialized call centres;
    2. in-writing, using online feedback forums, email, and correspondence; and
    3. in-person, at Service Canada offices across Canada.

2. Service

Service commitment and accountability

  • ESDC is committed to delivering reliable, timely, and professional service when dealing with Canadians and businesses in line with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
  • There are 3 modes of providing service:
    1. through Service Canada call centres (1-800-O-Canada) and other specialized call centres;
    2. in-writing, using online feedback forums, email, and correspondence; and
    3. in-person, at Service Canada offices across Canada.
  • Departmental efforts are also guided by Service Canada Service Standards and other program-specific service standards such as the Registered Education Savings Program Service Standards.
  • ESDC engages other government departments as needed – especially in areas of shared program responsibilities for integrated information sharing.
  • ESDC is committed to connecting regularly with stakeholders through the use of existing mechanisms in order to track and respond to issues raised by business regarding regulatory guidance or answers to questions.

Staff training

  • ESDC trains employees on regulatory and policy interpretation to ensure professional, accurate and consistent delivery of programs to business.

3. Stakeholder engagement

Commitment to stakeholder engagement

  • ESDC is committed to systematically engaging with stakeholders, where appropriate.
  • On March 31, 2015, ESDC completed its baseline engagement with stakeholders to identify areas for improvement in its interpretation practices, which are to be addressed by March 31, 2017.

Stakeholder engagement mechanisms

  • Typically, ESDC pre-publishes regulatory proposals in the Canada Gazette, Part I, which allows for a public comment period. Regulatory items can be exempt from pre-publication in cases such as regulations determined to be of low impact, miscellaneous amendments, grammatical corrections or typographical errors, and regulations which may respond to emergencies that pose major risks to health, safety, the environment, or security. For more information on the regulatory process please refer to the Guide to the Federal Regulatory Development Process.
  • Roles and responsibilities of EDSC as a regulator or program administrator and those of its partners can also be set out in signed agreements.
  • Service Canada and program-specific call centres.
  • Electronic mailing lists.
  • Meetings or other means.

4. Improvement

  • Throughout 2014-2015 ESDC has consulted with stakeholders on current interpretation practices (i.e. what is working well and what needs improvement?) using existing feedback mechanisms as identified under our Service pillar.
  • As per our commitment to Stakeholder Engagement made in April 2014, EDSC has identified the following areas for improvement which to-date have been informed by stakeholder input collected throughout the course of the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
  • ESDC will continue to monitor performance and by March 2017, EDSC will report improvements made on ESDC's Acts and Regulations webpage.

ESDC program area/regulation: Canada Disability Savings Program (CDSP) / Canada Disability Savings Regulations

Issue raised and program response

Do businesses/clients have issues understanding your regulations? If so, what are they?

The Canada Disability Savings Program (CDSP) is governed by a number of provisions in the Income Tax Act, the Canada Disability Savings Act and the Canada Disability Savings Regulations (Regulations). The administration of the program is a shared responsibility between the Canada Revenue Agency, Employment and Social Development Canada and the financial institutions offering Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) to eligible Canadians.

Financial institutions make a business decision whether or not to participate in the CDSP. If they decide to participate, they abide by the legislation and Regulations. Participating financial institutions are generally quite knowledgeable on the provisions of the Regulations, and processes and systems have been established to facilitate, and to some extent, automate their administration.

Program officials facilitate understanding of the Regulations among participating financial institutions by issuing operational and technical guidance; engaging with them through meetings and teleconferences to discuss any issues they may encounter in understanding and implementing the Regulations; offering training sessions to their employees, and sending out Listservs (e-mail communiqués) explaining regulatory changes as they occur. Also, the ESDC website has an area dedicated to supporting financial institutions, where they can access systems documents, user guides, forms and on-line training materials.

Do businesses/clients have problems accessing program help lines?

Financial institutions have a dedicated help line. No complaints about difficulties in accessing help lines or program officials have been received.

Systems constraints/issues?

The delivery of the RDSP, Canada Disability Savings Grant and Canada Disability Savings Bond involves a number of partners and the exchange of information between those partners through secured systems. Regulatory changes may necessitate changes to the systems of both ESDC and participating financial institutions.

Other issues raised by business?

Government officials meet regularly with participating financial institutions to discuss the delivery and administration of the program. These meetings provide an opportunity to exchange dialogue on our ongoing work. At the most recent meeting, no issues were raised by business.

Priority areas for improvement

There are ongoing efforts to improve the quality and availability of information to issuers (operational and technical guidance, engagement with financial institutions, training sessions for financial institution staff, Listservs, and an informative website). There are also ongoing efforts to increase program take-up.

Metrics to assess implementation
  • Increased program take-up
  • Increased grant and bond payments

FAQs – Canada Disability Savings Program (CDSP) / Canada Disability Savings Regulations

Is it possible to obtain an exemption from any of the provisions of the Regulations?

Under section 11 of the CDSA, the Minister may waive certain requirements of the CDSA or its Regulations under certain circumstances to avoid undue hardship. The requirements to be waived and the circumstances under which they may be waived must be prescribed in the Regulations.

The Regulations spell out one waiver provision: When an RDSP beneficiary is 18 of age and under, the CDSA (s. 6 & 7) requires that the beneficiary's family income be used to determine the amount of a grant or bond. Occasionally, however, an RDSP beneficiary may not have a family whose income can be used for this purpose. An example is a 16 year old, eligible for the disability tax credit, who has withdrawn from parental control and lives independently. In these circumstances, the beneficiary could request that the amount of the grant or bond be determined based on his or her own income. Section 8 of the Regulations allows the Minister to waive the age requirement in the CDSA and determine the grant or bond amount based on the beneficiary's income.

Beyond the provisions noted above, the Minister has no power to waive any of the other requirements of the Regulations.

ESDC program area/regulation: Canada Education Savings Regulations (CESR)

Issue raised and program response

Do businesses/clients have issues understanding your regulations? If so, what are they?

No concerns have been expressed.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) promoters currently have access to multiple sources of information to help them understand the regulations governing the Canada Education Savings Program (CESP).

For example, they are offered in-person training on the CESP, including the regulatory provisions. Information is available "24/7" on the ESDC webpage in the form of a Promoter User Guide, information bulletins, and e-learning modules. A dedicated "promoter support" telephone line is also available to provide responses to questions regarding application of the regulations.

Finally, RESP promoters are regularly consulted through the RESP Advisory Group meetings and e-mail consultations.

Do businesses/clients have problems accessing program help lines?

No concerns have been expressed.

A dedicated promoter support telephone line is available to RESP promoters. Service is available Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Contact information is accessible via the Canada Education Savings Program, Resources for RESP Promoters webpage.

Systems constraints/issues?

None have been expressed.

Other issues raised by business?

None have been expressed.

Priority areas for improvement
  • Continue to issue and update information available to the promoters through training and web publications.
  • Continue to consult and address issues with promoters through the RESP Advisory Group.
Metrics to assess implementation

Identify the number of:

  • Information bulletins issued;
  • Training sessions provided;
  • Web publication updated, and
  • Consultations with promoters through the RESP Advisory Group.

FAQs – Canada Education Savings Regulations (CESR)

Examples of the more common regulatory enquiries received from promoters through the dedicated promoter support line include:

What is the three year rule?

An RESP provider has up to 3 years from the date of the contribution to submit (at the request of a subscriber under the RESP) an application for the CESG for a contribution made after 2004. [CESR, sub-para. 4(1)(b)(i)]

Can the CESG be transferred to a brother or sister (sibling) over the age of 21 named in a different RESP?

Yes, as long as the sibling was named to the RESP before turning 21 years of age. [CESR, ss. 16.1 (a)].

Can fees be recovered in accounts that are mostly incentives?

Fees cannot be taken against the balance of the CESG or CLB accounts held in an RESP. [CESR, paras. 8(i) and 9(e)].

The regulatory interpretation of these rules is provided to promoters during training sessions and is available to promoters on the ESDC website; promoters are encouraged to use those resources.

ESDC program area/regulation: Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

Issue raised and program response

Overview of Consultation Activities

Since April 1, 2014, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) has undertaken a number of important stakeholder outreach activities to discuss the impact of program reforms and on-going program operations.

As a jointly administered program, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officials have engaged key stakeholders such as, but not limited to, employer associations, government partners, legal professionals, representatives from the oil and gas industry operating offshore, film/TV, commercial production and the visual effects sector, the performing arts sector, accommodation and food services, as well as the ski and snowboard industry.

This engagement has been done in a number of ways including webinars, cross-country stakeholder roundtables, bilateral meetings and correspondence.

ESDC and CIC officials also developed and publicly posted a discussion paper on proposed regulatory changes to enhance the TFWP and International Mobility Program (IMP) compliance framework, including a new Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) regime, on September 25, 2014. Interested parties were invited to provide input until October 16, 2014.

Key themes: Several reoccurring themes emerged from stakeholder consultations

Clarity of Program Requirements

Given the scope of changes to the TFWP made on June 20, 2014, and varying levels of awareness, stakeholders stressed the need to better inform and educate stakeholders and the public on the new program requirements. Stakeholders emphasized the need for clear, simple and consistent program information.

Program Flexibility

Several stakeholders noted that they are seeking consideration and accommodation of unique circumstances of various sectors, occupations, as well as broader regional considerations. For example, representatives highlighted the importance of program flexibility and adaptability for sectors/industries where specific skills/staffing needs could not be met through Canada's domestic labour supply (e.g. highly specialized knowledge).

Timely & Predictable Processing of Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs)

A number of stakeholders underscored the importance of fast, responsive and predictable LMIA processing.

In particular, expeditious processing was noted as being crucial for the success of their industry. Delays/increase in processing times could hinder the ability of a business to conduct their activities and act as a deterrent for foreign investment in Canada.

The LMIA Processing Fee

The fee increase for applying for a LMIA from $275 to $1,000 per TFW position was noted by several stakeholders.

Enhanced Compliance Framework

Stakeholders indicated broad support for enhanced compliance measures to ensure appropriate consequences for employers who abuse the TFWP and IMP, including AMPs and bans of various lengths. Employer representatives stated that some of the proposed penalties may be too strong and urged officials to embed procedural fairness throughout the inspection process leading up to a potential AMP or ban. Employers also suggested that the names of non-compliant employers only be published in very serious cases.

Areas for Improvement

To address problem areas identified during consultations, ESDC and CIC officials will undertake the following activities:

  • Publish a TFWP Policy Manual that will outline and clarify program requirements;
  • Continue engaging stakeholders in various outreach activities to explain program changes (e.g. organize webinars);
  • Re-launch the TFW Web Service to increase the speed of LMIA processing;
  • Monitor the volume of LMIA applications, processing times, and adjust fees over time, as required; and
  • Introduce AMPs and varied ban periods to address employer non-compliance with TFWP and IMP program requirements while ensuring that procedural fairness is built in throughout the process
Metrics to assess implementation

To assess the implementation of its interpretation practices, ESDC officials will continue to monitor the volume of LMIA applications, processing times, and adjust processing fees, as required. The Department, in collaboration with CIC, will also continue to engage stakeholders in various outreach activities to explain program changes (e.g. organize webinars) and to better understand how some sectors use the TFWP.

FAQs – Several reoccurring themes emerged from stakeholder consultations

Who can employers contact for specific program questions?

For specific questions regarding the Program, employers may wish to contact the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (toll free number within Canada and the United States or TTY: 1-855-881-9874). The Employer Contact Centre is available Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

What is the 10-business-day service standard for processing LMIAs?

As part of the Program changes, a new 10-business-day service standard for employers who are hiring TFWs in the highest-demand occupations (skilled trades), highest-paid occupations (top 10 percent) or short‑duration work periods (120 days or less) was introduced. As is the case for all requests to hire temporary foreign workers, LMIAs will only be granted after a rigorous review of all of the elements of the employer's application in each of these cases.

Why is the LMIA application fee set at $1000?

The LMIA processing fee was introduced to ensure that employers who use temporary foreign workers are paying the full cost of administering the TFWP so that the cost of hiring TFWs is not being subsidized by taxpayers. The fee increase is also intended to cover the costs associated with recent TFWP reforms, including stronger compliance activities to improve the integrity of the program, new National Job Vacancy and Wage Surveys to provide improved occupational and sectoral information on wages and job vacancies and better support the assessment of employer applications for temporary foreign workers. The fee will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and adjusted as necessary to ensure that it continues to fully cover the costs of administering the TFWP.

Are employers required to pay the $1000 LMIA fee for every LMIA, including re-applications?

Employers applying for a LMIA, including re-applications for existing LMIAs, will be required to pay the $1000 fee for every TFW position requested. LMIAs will be limited to a maximum of one year for all low-wage positions. If low-wage TFWs are needed beyond one year, employers must reapply every year for an LMIA, and will be subject to the LMIA fee.

What is an AMP and how will it address employer non-compliance?

AMPs are financial penalties imposed in response to the contravention of legislative or regulatory requirements. AMPs are a form of administrative sanction aimed at encouraging compliance, as opposed to criminal sanctions. The introduction of AMPs would help ensure that the TFWP and IMP have appropriate measures to respond to a range of non-compliance, in particular to cases where a ban from the programs may be too severe or would be ineffective in encouraging compliance.

ESDC program area/regulation: Employment Insurance Record of Employment (ROE) and Premium Reduction Program (PRP)

Issue raised and program response

Do businesses/clients have issues understanding your regulations? If so, what are they?

The collection of information from the employer community relating to an EI claimant's employment history is a critical component of Employment Insurance Regulations. This collection is achieved through the Record of Employment (ROE) form.

The Premium Reduction Program (PRP) reduces EI premiums for employers if their employees are covered by a registered employer-based short-term disability plan that meets or exceeds the requirements set by the EI Commission in the Employment Insurance Regulations. As premiums are reduced for employers only, it is the employer's responsibility to ensure that all employees for whom the reduction applies receive their portion of the savings.

Do businesses/clients have problems accessing program help lines?

None have been expressed. Information available on-line about the ROE includes a comprehensive guide for completing the form which can be found at Records of Employment: Information for Employers. Employers can also call Service Canada's Employer Contact Centre for support, at 1-800-206-7218.

Further, in November 2014, Service Canada implemented the eROE Web Assistant. The assistant functions as a wizard guiding users through the ROE completion process online. ROE Web Assistant includes enhanced help and automated features to make it easier for users to submit electronic ROEs.

Information available on-line about the PRP includes a comprehensive Program Guide for employers. Employers can also contact program administration toll free at (1-800-561-7923) to reach the program administration.

Systems constraints/issues?

In addition to paper ROE, there are three ways employers may submit ROEs electronically:

  • through ROE Web by using compatible payroll software to upload ROEs from a payroll system;
  • through ROE Web by manually entering data online through Service Canada's website; and
  • through Secure Automated Transfer (SAT), which is performed on an employer's behalf by a payroll service provider using bulk transfer technology.
Other issues raised by business?

The level of details collected through the ROE to support the legislative requirements often differs from the format and level of details maintained by businesses. The employer community has identified this as a source of burden.

There is some administrative burden for employers to apply for PRP and awareness of the program could be increased.

Priority areas for improvement

There are on-going efforts to encourage use of eROE and to build awareness of the PRP among businesses with qualified short-term disability plans.

Metrics to assess implementation
  • Proportion of ROEs that are electronic.
  • Number of presentations to build awareness of the PRP among stakeholders.
  • Number of meetings of the Federal Government Relations Advisory Council.

Program-specific resources

Disclaimer

These webpages have been gathered for your reference, ESDC assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any reproduction derived from the content of these webpages.

Service Canada

Social Insurance Numbers

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) Code of Practice describes the roles and responsibilities of all SIN users, including individuals, employers, private sector and not-for-profit organizations, Service Canada and its federal and provincial government partners, and Service Canada employees.

The following information will help you understand the importance of your responsibilities related to the Social Insurance Number (SIN), and the leading role you play in protecting your employees' personal information and in preventing fraudulent activities.

Employment Insurance Program

If you are an employer who provides your employees with disability coverage for short-term illness or injury, you may be eligible for a reduction in your EI premium rate. This information will help you determine if you should apply for an EI premium reduction.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The information contained on these pages provides guidance to complete Labour Market Opinions for each program stream and outline program requirements.

The information contained on this page provides information about Employer Call Centre, a dedicated 1-800 number to respond to employer inquiries about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The information contained on this page provides information on Labour Market Opinion Statistics.

Registered Education Savings Program

  • RESP and CESP Promoters - The information contained on this page is technical in nature and is intended for Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and Canada Education Savings Program promoters. For general information, visit the RESP section.

Registered Disability Savings Program

  • RDSP, Grant and Bond Issuers - The information contained on this page is technical in nature and is intended for Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), Canada Disability Savings Grant and Bond issuers (financial institutions). For general information, visit the RDSP section.

Annex: Results of ESDC Interpretation Policy

In this section

  1. Canada Disability Savings Program / Canada Disability Savings Regulations
  2. Canada Education Savings Program / Canada Education Savings Regulations
  3. Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) (Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations – Joint work with the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) through 2017)
  4. Employment Insurance (EI) Record of Employment (ROE) / Premium Reduction Program (PRP)

ESDC Program areas/regulations and 2015 Commitment metrics

1. Canada Disability Savings Program / Canada Disability Savings Regulations

1.1 Increased Program Take-up
Results (based on available program data) for Increased Program Take-up

As of March 2016, a total of 128,294 Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP) have been registered. This is an increase of 21.2% compared to the 101,064 plans registered by April 1, 2015.

Comments for Increased Program Take-up

These numbers are based on the date that RDSP applications were processed.

The Canada Disability Savings Program (CDSP) has an active outreach component which includes attending conferences and other events to promote RDSPs. In addition, contractual arrangements have been made with non-government organizations to offer seminars and workshops in various communities to explain to people with disabilities on the operational requirements and benefits to the RDSPs. Also, RDSPs are offered by a number of financial institutions which have their own advertising and outreach programs designed to encourage clients to open RDSPs.

1.2 Increased Grant and Bond payments
Results (based on available program data) for Increased Grant and Bond payments

As of March 2016, the cumulative net Grant amount paid was $273,246,849 for fiscal year 2015-2016. This is an increase of 15.6% compared to the $230,569,779 paid in fiscal year 2014-2015.

As of March 2016, the cumulative net Bond amount paid was $160,171,689 for fiscal year 2015-2016. This is an increase of 34.4% compared to the $104,996,129 paid in fiscal year 2014-2015.

Comments for Increased Grant and Bond payments

The numbers are calculated based on payout date.

The CDSP has an active outreach component which includes attending conferences and other events to promote RDSPs. In addition, contractual arrangements have been made with non-government organizations to offer seminars and workshops in various communities to explain to people with disabilities on the operational requirements and benefits to the RDSPs. Also, RDSPs are offered by a number of financial institutions which have their own advertising and outreach programs designed to encourage clients to open RDSPs.

Ongoing commitment for Canada Disability Savings Program / Canada Disability Savings Regulations: Updates to FAQs (if any)

Not applicable at this time.

2. Canada Education Savings Program / Canada Education Savings Regulations

2.1. Information bulletins issued
Results (based on available program data) for Information bulletins issued

ESDC issued 6 information bulletins online between April 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016:

  • Pre-transfer repayment policy
  • Revised income brackets for Additional Canada Education Savings Grant (A-CESG) for 2016
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Specimen Plan Obligations
  • One-name beneficiaries
  • Revised income brackets for A-CESG for 2017
  • Revised Canada Learning Bond eligibility criteria
Comments for Information bulletins issued

ESDC continues to provide guidance to the financial institutions offering RESPs, known as RESP promoters. Information bulletins are posted on Canada.ca to support RESP promoters in their delivery of the Canada Education Savings Program education savings incentives.

2.2. Training sessions provided
Results (based on available program data) for Training sessions provided

ESDC provided a total of 117 RESP courses with 1,256 participants:

  • 54 RESP promoter in-class courses
  • 4 RESP promoter distance courses (via WebEx*)
  • 10 RESP promoter webinars**
  • 49 courses offered to provincial and federal government employees
Comments for Training sessions provided

The information above consists of activities undertaken from April 1, 2015 until December 31, 2016.

*WebEx is a distance learning internet-based platform which allows ESDC to deliver the same onsite training courses to an organization or individual in another location.

**Webinars are also delivered via WebEx to permit distance learning. ESDC’s RESP webinars are an hour long and limited to a specific topic relating to the administration of the education savings incentives.

ESDC is committed to supporting RESP promoters and provincial and federal government officials in the administration of ESDC’s education savings incentives through onsite training, as well as distance learning via WebEx or webinars. A variety of courses are offered to provide relevant information depending on the recipient’s needs.

2.3. Web publication updated
Results (based on available program data) for 2.3

ESDC updated 2 RESP products following changes to the federal education savings incentives between April 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016.

  • Infocapsule – changes related to CESG eligibility and application process.
  • RESP Provider User Guide – changes related to pre-transfer repayment policy.
Comments for Web publication updated

ESDC regularly updates the content published on Canada.ca to keep RESP promoters informed of new and relevant information relating to the administration of RESP and education savings incentives.

2.4. Consultations with promoters through the Registered Education Savings Program (RESP) Advisory Group
Results (based on available program data) for Consultations with promoters through the Registered Education Savings Program (RESP) Advisory Group

There have been 3 RESP Advisory Group meetings held since April 2015.

Comments for Consultations with promoters through the Registered Education Savings Program (RESP) Advisory Group

The RESP Advisory Group facilitates the sharing of information with RESP promoters and ESDC’s partners for the delivery of the education savings incentives.

These in-person meetings foster an environment of cooperation and provide a forum to discuss and consult with the financial industry on matters relating to improving the marketing and delivery of the incentives.

Ongoing commitment for Canada Education Savings Program / Canada Education Savings Regulations: Updates to FAQs (if any)

Not applicable at this time.

3. Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) (Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations – Joint work with the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) through 2017)

3.1 With Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), continue engaging stakeholders in various outreach activities on program changes (e.g., organize webinars)
Results (based on available program data): Joint consultations on the Global Skills Strategy

On March 9, 2017, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, along with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patty Hajdu, announced the upcoming launch of a new 24-month Global Talent Stream pilot under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The Global Talent Stream is one component of the Global Skills Strategy, announced by the Minister of Finance in the 2016 Fall Economic Statement. IRCC is responsible for three other pillars within the overall Strategy, including a dedicated service channel, short-term work permit exemptions, and 10-day work permit processing.

Leading up to the Global Talent Stream pilot launch on June 12, 2017, ESDC and IRCC continue to work closely together to engage a broad range of stakeholder groups, including employers and associations from various industries across Canada, to ensure that any changes to the temporary immigration system balance broader economic interests while at the same time, protect Canada’s domestic workforce and labour market.

Results (based on available program data): Sector reviews: fish and seafood sector

IRCC is participating in the Atlantic Fish and Seafood Processors working group led by ESDC.

Results (based on available program data) for consultations on express entry

In 2016, ESDC participated in a series of employer outreach sessions organized by IRCC to consult on ideas to restructure the Express Entry system. The changes were planned to:

  • Provide more candidates with greater chances of success, and
  • Reduce requirements for employers making job offers.

During the outreach sessions, ESDC staff provided information on the Labour Market Impact Assessment process, explained the different streams available to employers, and shared stats on program usage.

In November 2016, IRCC implemented the first set of reforms which provided candidates with more points for Canadian educational credentials, loosened eligibility requirements for Express Entry jobs, and reduced the points awarded to job offers.

IRCC’s and ESDC’s response to the September 2016 report by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, could guide the direction taken by further Express Entry reforms.

Comments for With Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), continue engaging stakeholders in various outreach activities on program changes (e.g., organize webinars)

Not applicable.

3.2 Monitor the volume of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications, processing times, and adjust fees over time, as required
Results (based on available program data): Volume of Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs)

Details

April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016

April 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016*

Total LMIAs processed (all applications were processed)

42,550

19,407

  • Positive LMIAs (approved)

35,320 (or 83%)

16,663 (or 86%)

  • Negative LMIAs (not approved)

6,885 (or 16%)

2,695 (or 14%)

  • LMIAs cancelled, or revoked after positive LMIA issued, or suspended

345 (or 1%)

49 (or 0.3%)

* This data represents the first two quarters of fiscal year 2016-2017.

Results (based on available program data): Processing times

Service Standard: Eligible LMIA applications for highest-demand occupations (skilled trades), highest-paid occupations (top 10% of wages in a given province/territory) or short‑duration work periods (120 days or less) will be processed within 10 business days of receipt of the application and all documents required, 80% of the time.

2015-2016 Result: The national average was 88% which exceeds the service standard by 8%.

Results (based on available program data): Adjust fees over time

As a result of the June 2014 LMIA reforms for a more rigorous process, which included additional information required by employers, there has been a significant drop in LMIA applications being submitted to the TFW Program.

As part of ESDC’s response to the HUMA’s recommendations, the Program will re-evaluate the LMIA processing fee structure.

Comments for Monitor the volume of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications, processing times, and adjust fees over time, as required

Not applicable

3.3. Reporting on other planned improvements
  • Publish TFWP Policy Manual to outline and clarify program requirements
  • Re-launch the TFW Web service to increase speed of LMIA processing
  • Introduce Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) and varied ban periods to address employer non-compliance with TFWP and International Mobility Program (IMP) requirements while ensuring that procedural fairness is built throughout the process
Results (based on available program data): TFWP Policy Manual Status

In 2016, all of the Program policies were updated. These policies will now be reviewed on an annual basis and updated when necessary.

TFWP is working to establish a process for posting the TFW Policies online as per the Government of Canada’s transparency strategy.

Results (based on available program data): Re-launch TFW Web service

The Web service was taken down in order to revamp the design to be more user friendly.

It was re-launched and became available again for users in April 2015.

Results (based on available program data): Introduction of AMPs/varied bans, while ensuring procedural fairness

The AMP legislation came into force on December 1, 2015. As a result, during 2016 the Program finalized the policy related to this legislation, along with its procedural fairness policy, providing accurate, consistent and fair delivery of this aspect of the TFWP.

Comments for Reporting on other planned improvements

Not applicable

Ongoing commitment for Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Updates to FAQs (if any)

Not applicable at this time.

4. Employment Insurance (EI) Record of Employment (ROE) / Premium Reduction Program (PRP)

4.1 Proportion of Record of Employment (ROE) to be electronic transactions
Results (based on available program data) for Proportion of Record of Employment (ROE) to be electronic transactions

Details

April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016

April 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016

Target

81% is the national target for ROEs received electronically.

85% is the national target for ROEs received electronically (target was raised by 4%)

Result

84.1% of total ROEs were issued electronically (exceeded target by 3.1%)

88.2% of ROEs have been submitted electronically to-date (exceeding target by 3.2%)

* This data represents results to-date and doesn’t reflect the full fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.

Comments for Proportion of Record of Employment (ROE) to be electronic transactions

Not applicable

4.2. Number of presentations to stakeholders to build Premium Reduction Program (PRP) awareness
Results (based on available program data) for Number of presentations to stakeholders to build Premium Reduction Program (PRP) awareness

ESDC provided 6 Premium Reduction Program (PRP) education sessions at the following Canadian Payroll Association Conference and Tradeshows:

  • 3 sessions in Quebec City, in June 2015, with over 300 attendees; and,
  • 3 sessions in Calgary, in June 2016, with over 400 attendees.

An information sheet on PRP was distributed to participants at the following conferences:

  • Human Resources Professionals Association Conference in Toronto, in January 2016;
  • Certified Accountants Conference in Toronto, in September 2015;
  • The Canadian Payroll Association Conference and Tradeshow in Quebec City, in June 2015; and,
  • The Canadian Payroll Association Conference and Tradeshow in Calgary, in June 2016.
Comments for Number of presentations to stakeholders to build Premium Reduction Program (PRP) awareness

Not applicable

4.3. Number of meetings of the Federal Government Relations Advisory Council
Results (based on available program data) for Number of meetings of the Federal Government Relations Advisory Council

Four Federal Government Relations Advisory Council meetings were held which is consistent with the biannual frequency of meetings planned. Service Canada representatives attended all 4:

  • In 2015-2016, the meetings attended were on April 14, 2015 and November 24, 2015; and,
  • In 2016-2017, these meeting were held on April 26, 2016 and October 18, 2016.
Comments for Number of meetings of the Federal Government Relations Advisory Council

In addition to Federal Government Relations Advisory Council meetings, during this period, a joint endeavour between Federal Government Relations Advisory Council and the Government of Canada was established in the form of an EI Administration Review Task Force.

The Task Force focussed on exploring potential regulatory, administrative, and high level business options or technological solutions to reduce and clarify the burden of required employer reporting to the EI program.

The Task Force has met four times, with further meetings anticipated within the reporting period.

Ongoing commitment for Employment Insurance (EI) Record of Employment (ROE) / Premium Reduction Program (PRP): Updates to FAQs (if any)

Not applicable at this time.

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