Canada-Nova Scotia Agreement on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

1. Preamble

1.1. The Canada-Nova Scotia Agreement on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (hereinafter referred to as the “Agreement”) is BETWEEN Her Majesty, The Queen in right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (hereinafter referred to as “Canada”), and Her Majesty, the Queen in right of the province of Nova Scotia, as represented by the Minister of Immigration (hereinafter referred to as “Nova Scotia”).

2. Definitions

2.1. Definitions from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR)

2.1.1. For the purposes of this Agreement:

  1. except where otherwise provided in this Agreement, words used in this Agreement which are defined in the IRPA or in the IRPR have the same meaning as in the IRPA or the IRPR;
  2. a reference to the IRPA or the IRPR is a reference to that Act or those Regulations, as amended from time to time; and,
  3. where a definition given in this Agreement is inconsistent with a definition given in the IRPA or the IRPR, the definition in the IRPA or the IRPR will prevail.

2.1.2. For the purposes of this Agreement:

  1. “Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program” means the Parties’ obligations under this Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program Agreement entered into and under Ministerial Instructions pursuant to which Nova Scotia will endorse foreign nationals to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to become permanent residents of Canada;
  2. “Department” means Citizenship and Immigration Canada;
  3. “Designated Representatives” are the primary contacts for both Canada and Nova Scotia who are responsible for inquiries, and requests for amendments of this Agreement;
  4. “Dispute” means a conflict or disagreement between the Parties respecting:
    1. the interpretation, application, implementation of this Agreement, the IRPA, or the IRPR;
    2. a breach or anticipated breach of this Agreement; or
    3. other matters identified in the Agreement; and,
    4. that the Designated Representatives have been informed in writing of the conflict as per clause 1.4 of Schedule B – Dispute Resolution Process;
  5. “Endorse” means to support an application for permanent residence of an applicant under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program based on a review of (1) the job offer made to that applicant to confirm that the job offer is made by a designated employer, is genuine to the extent that it represents a real labour market need, is not fraudulent and would be otherwise attractive to a Canadian and (2) the settlement plan, that is based on a pre-endorsement needs assessment, as agreed to by the employer and the applicant, to affirm that the settlement plan responds to the settlement needs of the individual and his or her family as assessed by an approved third party. For greater clarity, an endorsement by the province does not include an assessment of the individual’s ability to meet the eligibility criteria as defined in the Ministerial Instructions, or any other assessment except as provided by for this Agreement;
  6. “FOIPOP” means the Nova Scotia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and any other legislation governing Nova Scotia’s collection, use and disclosure of personal information;
  7. “Fraud” means an intentional, false representation of truth, omission, or concealment of a material fact made by one person to another for the purpose of inducing the other person to act;
  8. “Immigrant” means a permanent resident, including a Convention refugee abroad and humanitarian-protected persons abroad resettled to Canada, and protected persons in Canada;
  9. “Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing” refers to a separate Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding to be agreed by the Parties hereto;
  10. “Misrepresentation” occurs when documentary and/or verbal evidence of incorrect fact is presented for the purpose of obtaining money, goods, privileges, benefits, or services to which the individual is not entitled;
  11. “Party” means Canada or Nova Scotia, and “Parties” means Canada and Nova Scotia;
  12. “Personal Information” means information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form, including, without limitation, “Personal Information” as defined for Canada, in the Privacy Act R.S.C 1985, c P-21, to which Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), as a government institution, is subject and for Nova Scotia in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
  13. “Processing pause” means that applications for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program which are related to endorsements by Nova Scotia and under Dispute will no longer be accepted by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, and will be returned; and that processing will cease on those Nova Scotia applications under dispute until the Dispute is resolved;
  14. “Program Integrity and Quality Assurance” is about delivering the right service, to the right person, for the right reasons, in a consistent manner. Operationally, this includes undertaking activities that maintain the integrity of the program and sound risk management practices, by giving attention to every stage of the delivery process. This usually involves random sampling used to monitor and assess established procedures, adherence to program requirements, the quality of decision-making and the reliability of client information. These exercises can be used to uncover activities such as fraud and misrepresentation, risks or gaps and to help identify any areas in need of program and policy improvements; and
  15. "Temporary Resident" means a temporary foreign worker, an international student, or a visitor.

3. Purpose and Objectives

3.1. The purpose of this Agreement is to define the roles and responsibilities of Canada and Nova Scotia (the Parties) in relation to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (the Pilot) as described in Ministerial Instructions, provided for under sections 14.1 and 87.3 of the IRPA and to establish provisions concerning the selection of and acquisition of immigration status by foreign nationals endorsed for the Pilot by Nova Scotia.

3.2. In the event of a conflict between this Agreement and the IRPA, including Ministerial Instructions given under the IRPA, or the IRPR, Canada and Nova Scotia agree that the IRPA, or the IRPR shall prevail.

3.3. The objectives of this Agreement are:

3.3.1. To strengthen Nova Scotia’s capacity to develop, deploy and retain a skilled workforce to address persistent and emerging labour market needs and demographic challenges by testing a unique and innovative approach to immigrant selection that emphasizes a coordinated approach between the federal and provincial governments, employers, communities and settlement agencies to improve the retention of immigrants in the region.

4. Roles and Responsibilities

4.1. To recognize that the Pilot as established by Ministerial Instructions and this Agreement between Canada and Nova Scotia is a federal immigration program, administered with assistance from participating Provinces, where:

4.1.1. Nova Scotia is responsible for:

  1. endorsing applicants where Nova Scotia has confirmed that the applicant possesses
    1. a job offer that is made by a designated employer, which is genuine to the extent that it represents a real labour market need, is not fraudulent and would otherwise be attractive to a Canadian, and
    2. a settlement plan that includes a pre-endorsement needs assessment, as agreed to by the employer and applicant, which responds to the settlement needs of the applicant as identified in the pre-endorsement needs assessment by an approved third party. A list of approved third parties, as amended from time to time, is available on the Department’s website. Notwithstanding any provision of this Agreement or otherwise, Nova Scotia is not obligated to endorse an applicant;
  2. designating employers who are eligible to participate in the program and who are committed to facilitating access to settlement service supports for successful applicants and their accompanying family members;
  3. monitoring and reporting on employers’ fulfillment of settlement support obligations as provided for in this Agreement and the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing;
  4. maintaining robust and regular monitoring of and reporting on, pursuant to this Agreement and the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing, activities and results achieved in Nova Scotia under the Pilot to facilitate effective performance measurement, contribute to program integrity and support program evaluation; and,
  5. complying with the processes and procedures established under the Pilot, including those that apply to designation, endorsement, monitoring and reporting.

4.1.2. Canada is responsible for:

  1. national immigration policy direction;
  2. the creation of immigration classes within the parameters set out in the IRPA, or Ministerial Instructions;
  3. the establishment of an annual immigration plan containing a projection of the number of immigrants to be admitted to Canada each year in total and in each immigrant category;
  4. the overall design and management of the movement of permanent and temporary residents to Canada and, in accordance with the report to Parliament filed per section 94 of the IRPA and according to section 87.3 of the IRPA, for the processing of applications and requests and selection of permanent residence in a manner that, in the opinion of the Minister, will best support the attainment of the immigration goals established by the Government of Canada;
  5. assessment of applications to the Pilot to ensure that applicants admitted under the Pilot have met eligibility requirements provided under the Ministerial Instructions and admissibility requirements as set out in the IRPA and the IRPR;
  6. final selection and admissibility decisions and issuing visas; and,
  7. performance monitoring and evaluation, including ensuring that adequate measures are in place at the federal level to contribute to program integrity and ensure that the Pilot meets its objectives.
  8. In all cases, where Canada determines that an applicant does not meet the requirements of the Ministerial Instructions class under which he has applied or the admissibility requirements of the IRPA/IRPR, Canada will refuse the applicant without prior notice to the Province and forward a copy of the refusal letter to Nova Scotia. The refusal letter will include the reason(s) for the applicant’s refusal.

4.2. In carrying out its responsibilities under sections 94 and 87.3 of the IRPA, Canada is committed to working equitably with all participating Parties, including Nova Scotia.

5. Shared Principles

5.1. Canada and Nova Scotia agree on the importance of the following shared principles:

5.1.1. the Pilot is an innovative and flexible tool for increasing permanent immigration across a wide range of occupations and skill levels (including of francophone immigrants) and improving the retention of these immigrants in the Atlantic region as a means of addressing demographic challenges and increasing economic growth;

5.1.2. the important role of immigration in supporting the economic development of communities in Atlantic Canada (including francophone communities);

5.1.3. focus on increasing economic growth through priority processing and ensuring that identified labour market needs and shortages are addressed in a timely manner and by enabling the Nova Scotia to endorse a significant number of immigrants outside of the Provincial Nominee Program.

5.1.4. enhanced communication, collaboration and coordination between the federal and provincial governments, employers, educational institutions, communities and immigrant service provider organizations to improve settlement and retention of immigrants in the Atlantic region and to ensure effective management and achieve desired outcomes;

5.1.5. the key role of employers in achieving desired settlement and retention outcomes, particularly in the recruitment of candidates and providing support to immigrants and their families that will help facilitate the integration process;

5.1.6. the necessity of program integrity activities to maintain the integrity of the Pilot; and,

5.1.7. regular and robust reporting on processing times and performance, including key performance indicators, metrics and outcomes.

5.2. Recognizing the importance of presenting a coordinated and collaborative approach to immigration under the Pilot, Canada and Nova Scotia agree that promotion of the Pilot to prospective applicants and employers is a shared responsibility.

6. Planning and Reporting

6.1. Canada will consult with participating Provinces on the number of Pilot applications accepted per calendar year. The final number will be set by Canada.

6.2. Canada will consult with participating Provinces on the allocation of these Pilot spaces within the Atlantic Region. Subject to section 6.1, this allocation may be adjusted at any time during the year upon agreement between Canada and the participating provinces.

6.3. Provinces will manage their endorsements to not exceed the application space provided under the Pilot. However, Canada may, in consultation with participating Provinces, place restrictions on the number of endorsements made by Nova Scotia in any one class. Nova Scotia agrees to respect overall program spaces as well as any endorsements caps placed on a particular class.

6.4. Upon agreement between the participating Provinces, Pilot spaces identified as likely to go unused in Nova Scotia, may be redistributed among the remaining Provinces provided that:

6.4.1. all Pilot spaces to go unused are identified by September 1, of each calendar year; and,

6.4.2. an agreement on the distribution of unused Pilot spaces, including the exact number of spaces to be received by each of the remaining Provinces, is prepared by participating Provinces and communicated in writing to the Assistant Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada by September 30 of the calendar year for which application endorsements are currently being issued.

6.5. By October 31, or periodically as agreed to by both Parties, Nova Scotia will inform Canada of its progress in issuing endorsements for the calendar year.

6.6. Additional Pilot space received by Nova Scotia through the redistribution can only be used within the same calendar year as the redistribution occurred. Redistributed spaces that are not filled by the end of the calendar year in which the redistribution occurred cannot be carried forward.

6.7. Only complete applications will be accepted by the Department for processing. Only these complete applications will be counted against the space accorded to Nova Scotia.

6.8. Any complete application received by the Department that exceeds the Province’s annual allocation will not be processed and will be returned to the prospective applicant. Nova Scotia agrees to monitor the number of endorsements issued and not issue more endorsements than are reasonably likely to fill Nova Scotia’s Pilot allocation.

6.9. Reporting on Nova Scotia’s usage of the Pilot will be undertaken as follows:

6.9.1. Nova Scotia will provide Canada with quarterly progress reports on activities undertaken through the Pilot for the preceding three (3) months, in a format agreed upon with Canada. The report on activities will include, but will not be limited to, the elements outlined in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing, as agreed to by both parties.

6.9.2. Nova Scotia will provide Canada with reports on the results achieved under the Pilot every six (6) months, in a format agreed upon with Canada. The report on results will include, but will not be limited to, the elements outlined in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing, as agreed to by both parties.

6.10. Canada will report out every six (6) months to Nova Scotia on permanent resident processing times. Canada will report to Nova Scotia annually on results achieved under the Pilot. The report on results will include elements outlined in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing.

6.11. As part of its commitment to report on results, Nova Scotia agrees to collect and report on the activities, outputs and outcomes of employers and provincially-funded immigrant settlement service provider organizations, as specified in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing.

6.12. The Parties undertake to give one another notice of any change in procedure, policy, regulations or legislation relating to their respective programs or operations that is likely to affect the Pilot.

7. Provincial Designation and Endorsement Processes

7.1. Nova Scotia has the sole and non-transferable responsibility to:

7.1.1. designate employers with genuine labour market needs who are eligible to identify applicants who meet those needs and who may apply to the program; and,

7.1.2. endorse a prospective applicant for application to the program, based on the genuineness of the job offer, verification of the individual’s pre-endorsement needs assessment and settlement plan and a commitment from the employer to assist, and where necessary provide settlement services to meet identified needs.

7.2. Nova Scotia agrees to accept only those applications for designation or endorsement submitted on the official designation and endorsement applications available on the Provincial website. Further, Nova Scotia agrees not make changes to the content of these forms without prior consultation and agreement from Canada and the other Atlantic provinces.

7.3. In order to exercise its responsibility to designate employers under this Agreement, Nova Scotia will require the employer make an application to the province. Nova Scotia agrees that it will, at minimum, assess the application to determine that:

7.3.1. the employer is not in violation of the IRPA or IRPR as indicated by information provided by Canada in response to a request from Nova Scotia pursuant to the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing;

7.3.2. the employer is in good standing with employment standards and occupational health and safety legislation and the business is genuine and has been in continuous, active operation for two years in the Atlantic region, or, the employer can demonstrate continuous, active operation in another location and provide confirmation of approval from the Nova Scotia Business Inc. signaling endorsement of corporate plans to relocate within Nova Scotia;

7.3.3. the employer has provided or agrees to provide workplace cultural sensitivity and awareness training to the organization, including managers and staff, where a federally or provincially funded immigrant settlement service provider organization has deemed it appropriate or necessary;

7.3.4. the employer agrees to support retention by facilitating access to settlement supports for successful Pilot applicants and their families, including, if required, costs associated with the provision of settlement services identified in the principal applicant’s pre-endorsement needs assessment and settlement plan where these services are not provided by the province or the federal government within a timely fashion;

7.3.5. for the purposes of settlement supports and services, the employer agrees to recognize the preferred official language of successful Pilot applicants and their families, and to facilitate links with tailored francophone settlement supports and francophone communities, where available; and,

7.3.6. the employer agrees to report to the Province on the number of foreign nationals recruited under the Pilot, their employment status and details of their position/wage/hours for three (3) years from the commencement of their employment, or the duration of their employment, whichever is less.

7.4. Nova Scotia will issue a dated designation signaling an employer’s eligibility to participate in the Pilot. Designations will be valid for the period of the Pilot, however, Nova Scotia will conduct an annual review of existing designations to determine if the original designation remains valid and to determine if the employer continues to be in good standing with:

7.4.1. the IRPA/IRPR;

7.4.2. provincial legislation related to employment standards or occupational health and safety; and,

7.4.3. federal legislation related to employment standards or occupational health and safety.

7.5. Employer designation will be revoked, in accordance with the compliance policy appended at Schedule A:

7.5.1. Where the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration becomes aware that the employer is in violation of the IRPA or the IRPR as indicated by information provided by Canada in response to a request by Nova Scotia pursuant to the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing; for any reason outlined under the compliance policy, as appended in Schedule A, and enforced by Nova Scotia; or,

7.5.2. where the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration becomes aware of fraud or misrepresentation in the application for designation or endorsement or the application of the foreign national for permanent residence as it relates to the job offer.

7.6. Employer designation may be revoked, at the discretion of Nova Scotia, in accordance with the Compliance Policy appended at Schedule A, where the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration becomes aware of employer non-compliance with provincial and/or federal legislation related to employment standards or occupational health and safety that occur after initial designation.

7.7. Where Nova Scotia has revoked an employer designation, Nova Scotia will inform Canada immediately, in writing to a location specified by Canada. An update of the record of endorsement will be made to affected files, noting the de-designation. Nova Scotia will provide the updated records of endorsement to Canada immediately upon de-designation of the employer supporting the endorsement.

7.8. Nova Scotia will be responsible for making all reasonable efforts to notify all affected applicants of the impacts of the de-designation and of the avenues of recourse available.

7.9. Where a designation has been revoked, Nova Scotia will enforce the Compliance Policy referenced in Schedule A.

7.10. In exercising its responsibility to designate an employer and endorse prospective applicants under this Agreement, Nova Scotia will apply the processes established under the Pilot, as referenced in section 7.1 through 7.9 and as amended from time to time by agreement of the Parties, insofar as these criteria, policy and procedures are consistent with the IRPA, the IRPR or any successor legislation and regulations, national immigration policies and the terms of this Agreement. This process will be applied to all employers designated and applicants endorsed under the Pilot, and Nova Scotia does not have the authority to waive any part of these processes.

7.11. In exercising its responsibility to endorse a prospective applicant for immigration Nova Scotia, will require the employer to complete an application for endorsement for each applicant to the Pilot. The application for endorsement must be accompanied by all agreed upon documentation as per the endorsement application. The application for endorsement will, at minimum, determine that the:

7.11.1. job offer is genuine, full-time and based on the labour market needs identified by the province;

7.11.2. employer has committed to facilitate access to a minimum level of settlement support for the applicant and family members, as identified in their pre-endorsement needs assessments and settlement plans, including up to 300 hours of language training as required to reach Canadian Language Benchmark level five for the principal applicant;

7.11.3. employer has engaged a provincially or federally approved immigrant settlement service provider organization to provide the necessary settlement supports and where the supports are not available, the employer commits to supporting the foreign national in obtaining appropriate services; and,

7.11.4. applicant understands the employer’s commitment to provide settlement services.

7.12. Nova Scotia is responsible for verifying that all documentation supporting the designation and endorsement processes is genuine. As part of this process, Nova Scotia will conduct due diligence in assessing all documentation required for the designation and endorsement applications to confirm that the information supports the employer’s stated intention to support settlement and the job offer is genuine.

7.13. Nova Scotia does not have authority to designate an employer, or endorse a prospective applicant, who does not meet the designation or endorsement criteria. Further, Nova Scotia will not issue an endorsement to an employer who intends to hire:

7.13.1. any person whose employment is likely to affect the settlement of any labour dispute or affect the employment of a person involved in such a dispute; or,

7.13.2. any person whose employment will adversely affect employment or training opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Nova Scotia.

7.14. Nova Scotia agrees to consider only applications for endorsement from designated employers and supported by a comprehensive pre-endorsement needs assessment and settlement plan conducted by an approved immigrant settlement service provider organization. A list of approved service provider organizations, to be amended from time to time, is available on the Department’s website.

7.15. Provincial decision to endorse an applicant will be based solely on the basis of labour market demands in the province and on the criteria for endorsement as expressly provided in this Agreement, including the commitment of the employer to assist the principal applicant and his or her family member’s access to settlement services to meet their needs, as set out in the comprehensive pre-endorsement needs assessments and settlement plans. Non-economic factors, including but not limited to family connections, shall not constitute a determining factor in the decision to endorse.

7.16. Nova Scotia will issue a dated endorsement with a unique endorsement number, valid in accordance with Nova Scotia’s requirements for endorsement. For security reasons, Nova Scotia will forward a record of the endorsement, by electronic means, to Canada. The endorsement will specify the information elements as outlined in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information sharing, including but not limited to the endorsement number, class under which the applicant will be counted, and confirmation that the employer has been designated by Nova Scotia. An endorsement received directly from the applicant or employer will not be accepted as evidence pursuant to sections 7.1 and 8.1. Should an employer be de-designated Nova Scotia will provide to Canada an updated record of endorsement for all applicants affected by the de-designation.

7.17. Prospective applicants must file a complete application for immigration with Canada within the time limit specified on the endorsement or within ninety (90) days of submitting an application for a temporary work permit under the Pilot, whichever is less. Nova Scotia agrees that endorsements will be valid for six (6) months from certification, unless earlier revoked by Nova Scotia in its sole discretion, and that no extensions to the endorsement will be granted. All endorsements that have not resulted in the submission of an application for permanent residence will cease to be valid as of December 31, 2019 or the end of the program, whichever is later.

7.18. Nova Scotia will keep written or electronic records of all designations and endorsements issued as part of the Pilot for a minimum of six (6) years from the date of approval. Nova Scotia will share those records with Canada if requested to do so.

8. Selection

8.1. Upon receipt of the application for permanent residence, together with the endorsement from Nova Scotia, Canada will:

8.1.1. determine the eligibility of the prospective applicant as a member of one of the three classes established under the Pilot pursuant to the Ministerial Instructions;

8.1.2. determine the admissibility of the prospective applicant, and his or her dependents, with respect to legislative requirements; and,

8.1.3 issue permanent resident visas to applicants and accompanying dependents who meet all the eligibility requirements of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program class and the admissibility requirements of the IRPA and the IRPR.

8.2. Canada shall consider Nova Scotia’s endorsement as evidence that Nova Scotia has determined that hiring a foreign national under the Pilot will be of economic benefit to the Nova Scotia. Notwithstanding, Canada has authority to make the final selection decision.

8.3. In all cases where Canada determines that an applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements of the specific Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program class to which they have applied, or fails to meet admissibility requirements under the IRPA, Canada has authority to, and will, refuse the application. Canada will notify Nova Scotia of the decision, and reason(s) for which the application was refused, once the final decision has been made. On a monthly basis, Canada will provide reports on the processing and permanent resident admissions of applicants destined to Nova Scotia through the Pilot, including the elements as outlined in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing.

8.4. Where the applicant has applied to the Intermediate Skilled (NOC C) class and has been refused by the Department, the Nova Scotia will inform the employer of the employer’s responsibility for costs associated with the worker’s return to their country of origin, and will monitor and report to Canada on employers’ compliance with this requirement.

9. Admission as a Temporary Resident

9.1. Canada may issue a work permit for applicants recruited by employers designated by Nova Scotia, pursuant to the IRPR, provided that the Department has received, from the applicant

9.1.1. a job offer, consistent with the requirements of the Minister Instructions classes, from a designated employer;

9.1.2. a letter from the Province; and,

9.1.3. a commitment by the applicant to submit an eligible permanent residence application within ninety (90) days from the date of submission of their application for a labour market impact assessment-exempt work permit.

9.2 The letter from Nova Scotia, referred to in 9.1.2, must:

9.2.1. request Canada to issue a work permit;

9.2.2. state that the applicant is urgently required by the employer; and,

9.2.3. confirm that the Province has received and reviewed for completion the following documents:

  1. a job offer consistent with the requirements of the Ministerial Instructions classes, from a designated employer, that is not seasonal or part time, and is sufficient to attract and retain Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The wages offered must fall within the range of wages for that particular occupation within the specified region, as identified by the federal government;
  2. an endorsement application which includes a pre-endorsement needs assessment and settlement plan for the applicant and his family, signed by both the designated employer and the applicant; and,
  3. a commitment by the applicant to submit an eligible permanent residence application within ninety (90) days from the submission of the application for a temporary work permit.

9.3. Notwithstanding sections 9.1 and 9.2, the applicant must meet all other IRPA and IRPR requirements, including admissibility, required for the issuance of a work permit.

9.4. Canada will monitor the temporary work permit pathway, and has authority to cancel, or modify, the temporary pathway option where program integrity issues arise, in consultation with all Atlantic Provinces.

9.5. In the event that the designation of an employer of a temporary work permit holder is revoked, Nova Scotia agrees to assist the temporary work permit holder to find new employment commensurate with the applicant’s skills and training and the existing temporary work. Where Nova Scotia is unable to find an employer able to take on the duties and responsibilities associated with employment of a Pilot applicant, where that individual would have applied for the Intermediate Skilled (NOC C) class, Nova Scotia will inform the employer of the employer’s responsibility for costs associated with the worker’s return to their country of origin, monitor and report on employers’ compliance with this requirement.

9.6. The Province agrees to monitor the number of letters issued to applicants referred to in 9.1.2, to ensure that it does not exceed the number of applications allocated to Nova Scotia under the Pilot.

9.7. Nova Scotia will issue each letter with a unique identifier, valid in accordance with section 9.2. For security reasons, The Province will forward a record of that letter, by electronic means, to Canada. The letter will specify the information elements outlined in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing. A letter received from the client or employer for which Canada has not received a record will not be accepted as evidence pursuant to section 9.2.

10. Program Integrity

10.1. Nova Scotia is responsible for fraud detection and deterrence in the administration of its designation and endorsement processes. To ensure the integrity of the program, Nova Scotia will conduct quality assurance exercises, and participate in quality assurance exercises conducted by Canada, on a periodic basis. Nova Scotia will implement changes to their processes, where a need for such changes has been identified by the quality assurance exercises, as necessary and in a timely manner subject to agreement by all Parties.

10.2. Canada and Nova Scotia will cooperate to ensure the integrity of the Pilot, including, but not limited to, activities such as:

10.2.1. identifying, evaluating and establishing measures to strategically and systematically mitigate risk and investigating potential program abuses to improve policies and procedures, close gaps and address vulnerabilities to ensure the rigour and confidence of the immigration system;

10.2.2. sharing information including personal information and intelligence related to program abuses, as per the details set out in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing;

10.2.3. working collaboratively with other federal agencies, as required, to address issues related to admissibility, including anti-fraud activities, criminality and public safety;

10.2.4. coordinating and streamlining investigations involving both jurisdictions; and,

10.2.5. conducting and disseminating research, and identifying knowledge gaps related to program integrity and quality assurance mechanisms and participating in targeted program integrity training.

10.3. Nova Scotia will report to Canada without delay any instances of suspected or confirmed fraud involving, but not limited to, applicants, employers, and third party immigration representatives and educational institutions, subject to section 10 of the Agreement, and in accordance with the policies and procedures outlined in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing.

10.4. Where suspected or confirmed fraud and or misrepresentation has been identified by either Party, Nova Scotia will provide, upon request by Canada, case-specific information as provided for in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing, including information relating to administration of the Pilot, in order to make informed decisions about disposition of these cases and in the furtherance of the integrity of the program.

10.5. Canada and Nova Scotia will share information on current and planned activities that support quality assurance and program integrity and, upon request, share the results of these activities with the other.

11. Compliance

11.1. Nova Scotia agrees with the importance of compliance with established policies and procedures under the Pilot and agrees to follow the compliance processes, pursuant to the compliance policy appended at Schedule A, with respect to:

11.1.1. designating an eligible employer;

11.1.2. monitoring and reporting on program activities and outcomes; and,

11.1.3. de-designating employers who have not complied with the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program requirements.

11.2. Where there is evidence of a Party’s non-compliance with the procedures established, Nova Scotia agrees to impose the appropriate recourse as outlined in the Compliance Policy provided in Schedule A.

12. Program Evaluation

12.1. Canada will conduct a review of the Pilot in order to meet federal accountability requirements. Nova Scotia will cooperate with Canada on the review, as outlined in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing.

13. Information Exchange

13.1. Subject to federal and provincial authorities governing the collection use and sharing of personal information, and privacy of information, and to section 13 of the Agreement, Canada and Nova Scotia agree to share information on prospective and actual permanent resident admissions to aid in the administration of each Party’s responsibilities under the Pilot.

13.2. Subject to federal and provincial authorities governing the collection, use and sharing of personal information, and privacy of information, and to section 13 of the Agreement Canada and Nova Scotia agree to collect, use and disclose information, only for the purposes described in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing, including for planning and developing policy and delivering, monitoring, and evaluating the Pilot and its processes. Information, including case-specific information as described in the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing, may also be collected, used and disclosed for the purpose of program integrity, including investigating program abuses and the detection and deterrence of fraud and misrepresentation.

13.3. Canada and Nova Scotia agree to share information subject to the requirements established by each Party’s respective authority:

13.3.1. For Canada:

  1. the collection of the Pilot Information from Nova Scotia as described in this section is authorized by section 4 of the Privacy Act.
  2. the disclosure of the Pilot Information to Nova Scotia as described in this section is authorized by paragraph 8(2) (f) of the Privacy Act.

13.3.2. For Nova Scotia:

  1. the collection of Pilot Information from Canada as described in this section is authorized by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
  2. the disclosure of the Pilot Information to Canada as described in this section is authorized by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

14. Dispute Management and Resolution

14.1. In the case of a Dispute under this Agreement, Canada and Nova Scotia agree to follow the dispute management and resolution process as outlined in Schedule B – Dispute Resolution Process of this Agreement.

14.2. Notwithstanding section 14.1, upon notification in writing that a Dispute exists regarding the interpretation or implementation of the IRPA or any Ministerial Instructions issued thereunder, the IRPR and this Agreement as they apply to applicants under the Pilot, Canada may, at any time during the Dispute Resolution Process, impose a Processing Pause on the application(s) under Dispute until the Dispute is resolved. The imposition of a Processing Pause applies but is not limited to Disputes concerning the designation and endorsement process, or where there is evidence of systemic fraud or misrepresentation, or multiple instances of fraud and/or misrepresentation.

14.2.1. Canada will provide written notification to Nova Scotia of the date when the Processing Pause will start.

14.2.2. Canada will provide written notification to Nova Scotia of the date when the Processing Pause will end.

15. General

15.1. The designated representatives for the purpose of communication and notification pursuant to this Agreement are:

15.1.1. For Canada, the Director, Economic Immigration Policy and Programs, Immigration Branch.

15.1.2. For Nova Scotia, the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration.

15.2. This Agreement will take effect when document has been signed by both Parties.

15.3. This Agreement will remain in effect until December 31, 2019.

15.4. This Agreement may be amended at any time by the mutual written consent of the Parties, subject to any required approval or authorization required.

15.5. Either Party may terminate this Agreement at any time by providing at least twelve (12) months’ notice in writing to the other Party.

16. Signatures

for the government of Canada

[Witness]

[Date]

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

for the government of Nova Scotia

[Witness]

[Date]

The Honourable Lena Metlege Diab,

Minister of Immigration, Nova Scotia

Schedule A – Compliance Policy

Title: Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program Employer Compliance Policy

Context:

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project (the Pilot) is an employer-driven initiative that seeks to enhance the region’s capacity to develop, deploy and retain a skilled workforce by addressing persistent and emerging labour market needs.

Purpose:

This policy sets out the roles and responsibilities for employer compliance under the Pilot and penalties for infractions.

Principles:

Employers are required to meet and uphold the requirements set out in this policy, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), and in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). Employers are also required to meet requirements outlined in the applicable provincial legislation, or Canada Labour Code and the Human Rights Act which ever applies.

Employer Compliance:

Employers are responsible for:

  • ensuring they meet all of the conditions and requirements of the Pilot as outlined in the employer designation and endorsement forms (including the needs assessment and settlement plan);
  • keeping all records associated to their Pilot designation, endorsement and any documents that demonstrate their compliance with the program conditions for six (6) years;
  • cooperating with responsible provincial authorities during investigations addressing program integrity concerns;
  • informing the province of any changes or errors relating to a submitted or approved endorsement or the foreign national; and
  • employers must regularly (i.e. monthly) review the activities related to the employment of foreign workers selected through the Pilot to ensure they continue to uphold the terms and conditions of the Pilot. Employers are required to take action to rectify and disclose to the province errors and/or non-compliance as soon as it is discovered.

Provinces are responsible for:

  • ensuring program integrity is upheld by holding employers accountable to the terms and conditions of the Pilot, pursuant to Nova Scotia’s authority to revoke endorsements and / or de-designate employer as provided in this Agreement;
  • implementing and maintaining a fair and confidential mechanism for individuals to report compliance violations;
  • conducting periodic reviews/inspections of selected employers to ensure employer compliance with the terms and conditions of the Pilot; and
  • providing, upon arrival, to each foreign national information on provincial and federal worker protection laws and employer responsibilities.

Employer Non-Compliance:

In order to be designated, employers must currently be in good standing with provincial occupational health and safety and labour authorities and not be in violation of the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act (IRPA) or Immigration, Refugee and Protection Regulations (IRPR), as indicated by information provided by Canada pursuant to the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing.

Employer non-compliance with the IRPA or IRPR triggers a clear protocol to revoke the employer’s designation status. Designation is initially granted for the duration of the AIPP (i.e., three (3) years), with an annual review to confirm that information provided in the original designation remains valid.

An employer will have their designation revoked where:

  • designated employer has violated the IRPA and/or IRPR and a warning, order, and/or administrative monetary penalty is issued, as indicated by information provided by Canada pursuant to the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding Information Sharing.

An employer may have their designation revoked where:

  • the designated employer has been found non-compliant with provincial legislation related to employment standards or occupational health and safety, or federal legislation related to employment standards or occupational health and safety where Nova Scotia becomes aware of the non-compliance.

Where a province has refused to designate or has de-designated an employer under the Pilot due to a violation of existing legislation, and the business is subsequently sold with ownership transferring to a new operator, the decision to refuse or rescind designation is not removed. The decision transfers with the sale to the new operator and remains valid in the company’s name for the duration of the Pilot.

Process of De-designation:

If an assessment concludes that a violation warranting revocation of the employer designation has occurred, the province will notify the employer in writing that the process of de-designation is commencing and that a sixty (60) day probationary status is in effect. The notice will include information about the term(s) or condition(s) violated, how the employer failed to comply, the evidence supporting the determination, the consequences and next steps. An employer will be required to submit a written response within thirty days of receipt of the notice regarding any discrepancies relating to the suspected violation, the proposed consequence, or both.

During this sixty (60) day period, the employer cannot submit an application for endorsement by the province. The province will notify the Department of Citizenship and Immigration immediately of the investigation and affected permanent residence applications and will follow-up with the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to communicate the outcome of the process. Employers that have had their designation revoked, will be unable to access the Pilot for a period of three (3) years. The Province will also make all reasonable efforts to notify, in writing, all affected foreign nationals of the decision and next steps.

Applicants

Foreign nationals who have received a job offer from an employer who is de-designated and have not yet applied for permanent residence under the Pilot will no longer be able to apply to the Pilot under this employer’s endorsement and job offer. They are however eligible to apply with a job offer from another designated employer provided they have received a new endorsement from the province and otherwise meet the requirements of the Pilot. The province will undertake to facilitate the process of finding new employment by providing the foreign national with information regarding employment opportunities with other designated employers.

Monitoring and Reporting:

Employers are required to report to provinces on the status of employees who accessed permanent residence under the AIPP as per Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing. 

Schedule B – Dispute Resolution Process

1. Dispute Resolution Process

1.1. The Parties are committed to working together to implement this Agreement. Both Parties are committed to respecting and supporting the objectives and principles of the IRPA and share the following objectives:

1.1.1. to prevent Disputes;

1.1.2. to work together to minimize Disputes;

1.1.3. to identify Disputes quickly and to resolve them expeditiously, at the lowest officials level possible, in a fair, open and transparent manner; and,

1.1.4. to resolve Disputes in a non-adversarial, collaborative and informal manner whenever possible.

1.2. In the case of a Dispute or disagreement under this Agreement, the designated representatives will attempt to resolve the matter through information sharing, communications and informal discussions. In the event that the designated representatives are unable to resolve the Dispute expeditiously, it will be referred to the Agreement Management Committee (AMC) Co-Chairs, accompanied by relevant facts and steps taken to reach resolution. Such procedures will provide equal opportunities for representation by each Party, establish clear time limits, and ensure clarity for the implementation of final decisions. Further, in the event resolution is not reached within thirty (30) days of being raised with the AMC Co-Chairs, the Parties will jointly determine next steps.

1.3. The Agreement Management Committee (AMC) is co-chaired by Assistant Deputy Ministers for Canada and the Province (or their designates where mutually agreed upon). Other members can include local, regional, National Headquarters officials of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and, as appropriate, representatives of other federal departments and provincial ministries responsible for program and services related to immigration.

1.4. Either Party may refer the matter to the Deputy Minister of the Department and the Deputy Minister(s) responsible for immigration in Nova Scotia by providing him/her with a written notice.

1.5. Both Parties will exchange all relevant information and engage in bilateral discussions in an attempt to clarify and resolve the Dispute. Deputy Ministers will:

1.5.1. provide equal opportunities for representation by each Party;

1.5.2. attempt to resolve Disputes within thirty (30) days; and,

1.5.3. ensure clarity for the implementation of final decisions.

1.6. Should the Dispute be resolved, Deputy Ministers will oversee drafting of a short report identifying the issues that have been resolved, specific actions and timelines required to implement the resolution.

1.7. If Deputy Ministers are unable to resolve the Dispute within thirty (30) days from the date of its referral to them, they would determine the appropriate course of action for its resolution, including elevating the Dispute to Ministers.

1.8. Ministers will provide advice and direction to their officials on an appropriate course of action to resolve the Dispute.

1.8.1. This Dispute management process shall not in any way limit the final authority of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration respecting decisions to interpret and administer the IRPA or the IRPR.

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