CIMM - Labour Market Impact Assessment in Work Permit Process - Dec 2, 2020
IRCC works closely with Employment and Social Development Canada to administer the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which seeks to help Canadian employers access foreign labour to fill critical skill and labour gaps where there is a shortage of Canadian labour.
The labour market impact assessment – a key element of the Program, that is led by Employment and Social Development Canada – is particularly relevant when addressing labour market disruptions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In practice, the labour market impact assessment means that employers need to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to recruit and hire Canadian workers prior to seeking to hire foreign nationals through the Program.
IRCC is responsible for issuing work permits to these workers, thereby ensuring that they are only hired to fill labour market gaps for which Canadian labour is not available.
In the context of the pandemic, I understand that Employment and Social Development Canada implemented an interim measure whereby employers who had submitted a labour market impact assessment application before the end of March were asked to re-advertise the job for another two-week period to ensure those opportunities were made available to any newly unemployed Canadians and permanent residents. Certain occupations, such as those in agriculture sector, were exempted from these recruitment requirements.
Given Employment and Social Development Canada’s expertise in labour market analysis, they would be better placed to respond to the intricacies of the labour market impact assessment process.
Supporting Facts and Figures
In 2019, IRCC issued work permits to approximately 405,000 foreign nationals. Approximately 24% of these work permit holders required a labour market impact assessment under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Foreign workers comprise a fraction of the overall workforce in Canada and fill jobs in critical sectors.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program, is administered by Employment and Social Development Canada, with IRCC being responsible for work permit issuance. It helps employers who are unable to fill labour market needs where Canadians or permanent residents are not available. It includes agricultural workers and others who require a labour market impact assessment. Approximately 95,700 foreign nationals (out of 405,000) were issued a work permit in 2019 under this program. Over 56,000, or 59%, of these permits were issued to agricultural workers. Other occupations under the Program include caregivers and some high-skilled foreign nationals (including graphic designers and computer engineers) under the Global Talent Stream.
Employers who wish to use the Program must comply with strict program criteria to guarantee that the entry of a foreign worker will not have an adverse effect on the Canadian labour market. As part of the assessment process, Employment and Social Development Canada looks at available labour market information for the region and for the occupation, as well as information provided by the employer, to determine whether:
efforts were made by an employer to recruit or train Canadians or permanent residents;
hiring a foreign worker will or is likely to result in transferring skills or knowledge to Canadians or permanent residents, or in creating or retaining employment for Canadians;
a temporary foreign worker is likely to fill a labour shortage;
the wages offered are consistent with the prevailing wage rate for the occupation, and working conditions are in accordance with accepted Canadian standards;
the employment of a foreign national is not likely to adversely affect the settlement of any labour dispute that may be in progress; and
the employer has made efforts to fulfill previous commitments made to the Program to transition to a domestic workforce.
A negative labour market impact assessment will be issued if an assessment indicates that hiring a temporary foreign worker will have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market or if an employer has not complied with Program policies, including making efforts to recruit Canadians or permanent residents first. Labour market impact assessments and work permits are issued for specific durations and workers are expected to return to their respective countries once their work permits expire.
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