ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 279-E – July 26, 2013

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 – Extended


OB 279-D has been replaced with OB 279-E:

  • to announce a one-year extension of this pilot. Application deadline has been extended from August 1st, 2013 to July 31st, 2014, thereby extending the participation period for the pilot to July 31st, 2017;
  • to update the reference to the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process to which employers can apply if they do not wish to participate in the pilot;
  • to clarify that, for optional trades such as carpenter or millwright, applicants may not always have an Alberta Qualification Certificate Program (QCP) approval letter from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) to present with their work permit (WP) request/application; and
  • to clarify WP processing instructions, including more guidance on how to treat applications for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) with a job offer from, or who are working for, an employer who is a member of a recognized Group of Employers (GoE).


This TFW Annex pilot project, launched June 1, 2011, in the Province of Alberta, allows foreign nationals to come to Canada to work temporarily in a specific occupation and to be issued a WP that allows them to move freely between employers, without requiring an LMO from Service Canada, if specific requirements are met.

This pilot project was established under the TFW Annex – archived to the Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration which 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) WPs 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.

Approved Pilot Occupations

  • Steamfitter/pipefitter (National Occupational Classification [NOC] 7252);
  • Welder (NOC 7265); and also
    • Welder-wire process operator (NOC 7265);
  • Heavy-duty equipment mechanic (NOC 7312); and also
    • Heavy Equipment Technician – Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic (Off Road) (NOC 7312);
    • Heavy Equipment Technician – Transport Trailer Mechanic (NOC 7321);
    • Heavy Equipment Technician – Truck and Transport Mechanic (NOC 7321);
  • Ironworker (NOC 7264); and also
    • Ironworker – structural/ornamental (NOC 7264);
    • Ironworker – reinforcing (NOC 7264);
    • Ironworker – metal building systems erector (NOC 7264);
  • Millwright and industrial mechanic (NOC 7311) (see note 1);
  • Carpenter (NOC 7271) (see note 1); and
  • Estimator (NOC 2234) (see note 2).

Note 1:

Employers who do not require a journeyperson level carpenter and/or millwright are not required to participate in the pilot but may instead hire TFWs under the LMO process.

Note 2:

Qualified estimators are not required to apply to the Alberta QCP as they are certified by the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS), therefore will not have an approval letter from AIT.

Pilot Project Parameters

To ensure the protection of the Canadian labour market, foreign nationals requesting to work in Canada under this Pilot are required to have an initial job offer from an Alberta employer or an employer acting on behalf of a recognized GoE under the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)–Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (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 current provincial labour market standards.

Under this pilot, TFW applicants who have a job offer in one of the pilot occupations, for a position located in Alberta, are eligible for one of the following:

  1. a one-year WP that is both occupation-specific and employer-specific (i.e. for foreign nationals who are not certified, but are in possession of a valid AIT Approval letter and a valid job offer), or
  2. a two-year occupation-specific OPEN WP for the province of Alberta (i.e. for foreign nationals certified or recognized as certified by Alberta, who have a valid job offer), or
  3. a short-term employer-specific WP issued for the duration authorized by AIT (i.e. this option is for foreign nationals in compulsory skilled trades only and generally does not exceed 90 days). Applicants must have an AIT Authorization letter (instead of the Approval letter).


This deadline date is only applicable in regard to initial applications to enter the pilot. Once in the pilot, and an uncertified participant has successfully challenged the AIT QCP exam and obtained trade certification in Alberta, they may apply in Canada for the two-year OPEN work permit before their initial one-year employer-specific work permit has expired.

AIT Requirements (see also OB 434 for more information):

Establishment of training and certification standards for tradespersons working in Alberta is the responsibility of Alberta industry, represented by AIT. To maintain industry standards in Alberta and to promote workplace safety, AIT evaluates and tests out-of-country tradespersons destined to work in the province.

TFWs who want to work in a compulsory certification trade in Alberta must be a certified journeyperson – or approved by AIT into the certification program - holding one of the following:

  • a valid Alberta Qualification Certificate, or
  • a valid Canadian provincial/territorial trade certificate recognized by Alberta, or
  • a valid out of country trade certificate recognized as equivalent by Alberta (Recognized Certificates), or
  • a valid Alberta Equivalency Document, or
  • the Alberta QCP approval letter, which must be obtained prior to coming to Canada, or
  • an authorization letter from AIT permitting a requesting employer to hire TFWs in specified occupations for specialty work, generally for shorter periods of time. This authorization must be obtained prior to the TFW coming to Canada.

All TFWs with approved QCP applications are eligible to work in Alberta under the supervision of a certified journeyperson.

The QCP application approval letter remains valid for a period of one year from the date of issue. Once the TFW arrives in Canada, he or she will have up to 12 months to challenge the QCP exams. Upon meeting all industry trade requirements, including passing the required trade examinations, an Alberta Qualification Certificate is issued to the TFW.

Information on AIT certification requirements to work in a trade in Alberta can be found at Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education Web site.


No work permit extensions will be issued under this pilot project.

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 employer-specific/occupation-specific 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 one of the approved occupations under this pilot project.

It should also be noted in “Remarks/Notes” that “this WP application is in relation to the Province of Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot Project – OB 279-E” 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 a specific occupation allows for the successful mobility of a skilled TFW within a particular industrial sector.

A review and evaluation of this pilot project by the Province of Alberta will begin in 2013.


For more information about this pilot project, consult the Factsheet on the Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education website.


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