ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 279-B - May 31, 2011

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

This document has expired. Please refer to the appropriate Program Delivery Instructions for current information.

Alberta Pilot for Occupation Specific Work Permits


This Operational Bulletin (OB) was revised to include instructions for AAIT certified steamfitters/pipefitters applying from overseas, who possess an employment offer in this trade from an employer in Alberta.


The purpose of this OB is to advise officers of a Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) pilot project effective in the Province of Alberta, allowing foreign nationals coming to Canada to work temporarily in a specific occupation and to be issued a Work Permit (WP) without requiring a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Service Canada.


The TFW Annex – archived to the Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration contains the following commitment:

“7.2.1 The Canada-Alberta Working Group on TFWs, defined in section 9.2, will work toward developing occupation-specific (but non-employer specific) work permits for TFWs working in Alberta in the engineering, construction and procurement industries to permit limited mobility of certain high-skilled TFWs within a particular industrial sector.”

Pilot Parameters

This pilot project will operate as follows:

Types of applicants Initial 1-year employer-specific WP (Phase 1) 2-year open WP (non-employer specific) with mobility in Alberta (Phase 2)
Uncertified TFW applicants who have an initial job offer in the steamfitter/pipefitter occupation from an Alberta employer,
An Alberta employer acting on behalf of a recognized Group of Employers (GoE) under the CIC-HRSDC GoE Pilot.
Apply between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012* at a visa office or, if applicable, at a POE. Once certified, apply at CPC-Vegreville before May 31, 2013 to continue participation in the pilot.
Certified TFW applicants (steamfitter/pipefitter) working for (or possessing a job offer from) an employer in Alberta,
A Group of Employers recognized under the CIC-HRSDC GoE Pilot, in Alberta.
  Apply between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012*, and before original WP expires

*Applications will not be accepted for this pilot after May 31, 2012.

A review and evaluation of the pilot will commence in mid-2014.

Terms of the pilot will apply only to qualifying foreign nationals (as described below) destined to work, or working, in the province of Alberta. All relevant WPs must be coded as indicated below to support an effective evaluation of the pilot.

Applicants may be required to meet all other applicable federal criteria including the likelihood they will voluntarily leave Canada at the end of the period authorized for their stay. They must also continue to meet all admissibility criteria in order to obtain status as a temporary resident in Canada.

Eligible Participants

  • Foreign nationals who are entering Canada and destined to Alberta as TFWs, and who have an initial job offer from an Alberta employer (or an Alberta employer making a job offer on behalf of a recognized Group of Employers (GoE) under the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)-Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) GoE Pilot in the Steamfitter-Pipefitter occupation—National Occupational Classification 7252; or,
  • TFWs certified and currently working in the steamfitter/pipefitter trade in Alberta.

Work Permit Issuance

  • Uncertified applicants must apply either overseas, or, if applicable, at a port of entry (POE) in Canada:
    • Steamfitter-Pipefitter is a compulsory trade in Alberta. Therefore, the uncertified TFW must have an approved application and an approval letter from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT) for the Qualification Certification Program prior to arrival in Canada (see sample in Appendix A).
      Information related to the Qualification Certificate Program can be found at
    • Applicants applying at a visa office must provide this letter as part of their WP application, or if eligible to apply at a POE, it must be provided to the Border Services Officer.
    • A one-year employer-specific WP, specific to the Steamfitter-Pipefitter occupation and based on a job offer from a named employer, or an employer making a job offer on behalf of a recognized GoE under the CIC-HRSDC GoE Pilot, may be granted to a foreign national as described above upon application (including payment of the appropriate fee) and without requiring an LMO. This initial one-year period is to allow the foreign national to meet the certification requirements of the AAIT while remaining employed by the initial employer or a Group of Employers recognized under the CIC-HRSDC GoE Pilot.


      The job offer from the employer must indicate that the wages offered are consistent with the prevailing wage rate paid to Canadians in the same occupation in the region and that the working conditions for the occupation meet the current provincial labour market standards. Additionally, WP approvals may depend on medical examination requirements.

      Once certification is confirmed, the TFW may then apply for a two-year non-employer-specific (open) WP that will allow the worker to move between Alberta employers in the Steamfitter-Pipefitter occupation.

  • Certified applicants can apply either from inside Canada/Alberta, overseas, or, if applicable, at a port of entry (POE) in Canada:
    • For Phase 1 participants, subsequent to AAIT certification, a two-year open WP can be obtained by applying to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta, either by mail or online.
    • Certified steamfitters/pipefitters already working in that trade in Alberta can apply directly to Phase 2 of this pilot for the two-year open work permit but must do so before May 31, 2012, and before their original work permit expires.
    • AAIT certified steamfitters/pipefitters currently outside Canada but in possession of an offer of employment in the steamfitter/pipefitter trade from an employer in Alberta can apply for the Phase 2 (two-year non-employer specific open work permit) if the application is received before May 31, 2012.

No extensions will be issued under this pilot.

System Instructions

LMO Exemption Code is T13 in conjunction with R204(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations—“an agreement entered into by the Minister with a province or group of provinces under subsection 8(1) of the Act”. This code must be used on the initial one-year WP and the subsequent two-year open WP.

Both the initial WP and the subsequent open WP should indicate in the “Province” field and in the printed “Conditions” that it is only valid for work performed in the province of Alberta and in the Steamfitter-Pipefitter occupation.

It should also be noted in “Remarks/Notes” that “this WP application is in relation to the Province of Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot Project” to assist in statistical research, evaluation and policy development purposes.


The pilot project will assess whether or not the issuance of an occupation-specific, but otherwise “open”, WP in an engineering, construction or procurement (ECP) occupation allows for the successful mobility of a skilled TFW within a particular industrial sector.


For more information about this pilot, call the toll-free Alberta Temporary Foreign Worker helpline at 1-877-944-9955 or visit the Alberta Employment and Immigration website at

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