CIMM - Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program: Labour Market Impact Assessment - Mar 10, 2021
The TFW Program seeks to address labour and skills shortages while balancing the interests of Canadian workers, employers, and the protection of foreign workers.
Timely access to foreign workers helps employers remain competitive by filling labour and skills shortages, on a temporary basis.
Most employers need a Labour Market Impact Assessment before they can hire a foreign worker, which assesses the likely impact temporary foreign workers could have on the Labour Market.
Given the impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian Labour Market, the Program continues to be nimble and flexible to ensure that employers’ reasonable labour needs are met.
The purpose of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is to assess the positive, neutral or negative impact of a job offer made to a foreign national on the Canadian labour market.
Given the impact of COVID-19 on employers and the Canadian labour market, the Program has introduced a number of flexible measures to assist employers and updated its policies to ensure that Canadians and/or Permanent Residents are considered first for available work.
COVID-19 Measures to Facilitate Employers Wishing to Hire Temporary Foreign Workers:
Validity period of approved LMIAs is increased to a maximum of 9 months from the original 6 months.
For Low-wage Stream, the maximum duration of employment is increased from 1 to 2 years as part of a three-year pilot.
Employers are not required to submit minor administrative changes to the LMIA that would not change the terms and conditions.
Name addition and change requests are expedited for reasons related to COVID-19 or for eligible foreign workers already in Canada.
COVID-19 Measures to Support Key Economic Sectors
The Program is prioritizing the processing for applications where occupations are considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Quebec, to support the control of health crisis, the Program is prioritizing and waiving minimum recruitment requirements for selected health-related occupations.
In the 2020 season, under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), employers could request to extend the work duration beyond 8 months.
Flexibility in submission of Housing Inspection Reports is provided to employers under SAWP and Agricultural Stream when the appropriate authority is unable to conduct an inspection.
COVID Measures to Protect Canadian Jobs
Refusal to Process of selected occupations and industries, as all economic regions in Canada are considered to have unemployment rates of at least 6%.
In Alberta, only 27 approved occupations and applications in support of permanent residency are accepted for processing.
For applications received before June 15, 2020, if the recruitment was conducted before March 15, 2020, employers were required to re-post the ads for an additional two consecutive weeks.
To ensure Canadians and permanent residents are considered first for available jobs, as of January 1, 2021, all occupations are subject to the regular minimum recruitment requirements (except in Quebec).
Supporting facts and figures
The overall planned cost to deliver the TFW Program, which includes funding to process LMIAs, the Global Talent Stream, integrity measures and call centres for 2020-21 is $61,562,585 and estimated to be $56,193,995 for 2021-22.
The Program has received 41,746 LMIAs year to date (1% increase compared to the same period last year excluding GTS).
At the start of the pandemic, the Program only processed occupations that directly supported and ensured the safety of the Canadian food supply, leading to an increase in the LMIA inventory beyond its normal resting levels (3,000), which peaked at 7,100 applications in early summer.
To mitigate, an Inventory Reduction Strategy has been initiated and the Regions are consistently exceeding their weekly targets. As of February 14, 2021, current inventory levels are at approximately 4,500.
Processing times in 2020-2021 have improved by an average of over 15 business days compared to the previous fiscal year.
Average processing times year to date by stream are as follows:
Average Processing Time per Stream - YTD – as of February 21, 2021
The TFW Program enables employers to fill labour and skills shortages on a temporary basis when Canadians are not available, while ensuring that foreign workers are protected.
The Program is comprised of five streams: Primary Agriculture (including SAWP and Agriculture applications); Low Wage; High Wage; Express Entry (Permanent Resident); and the Global Talent Stream (GTS).
There are four regions (Western Canada and the Territories, Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario) responsible for the delivery of the TFW Program across Canada.
While each region processes Low Wage and High Wage LMIAs for their area, the following Centres of Specialization (CoS) have also been established to streamline processing:
SAWP is delivered in the Ontario Region;
Academics, Medical Doctors/Specialists, Registered Nurses and applications to support permanent residency are delivered in the Atlantic Region;
Caregiver applications are delivered in the Ontario Region.
Due to the co-delivery model with the Province of Quebec, the Service Canada Quebec Region processes all streams of the program.
To access the Program, an employer would submit a LMIA application to Service Canada by fax, mail or online and would pay the $1000 per position, unless they are accessing the Primary Agriculture Stream (note: Quebec employers also submit an application to MIFI and an additional $205 fee).
Applications are triaged to determine if they will proceed to assessment and are not processed if they are incomplete, from ineligible employers or subject to Ministerial Instructions related to Refusal to Process.
Service Canada Program Officers will then review the application package and base their assessment on the following factors:
Consistency with F-P/T Agreement: The issuance of LMIA should be consistent with the terms of any federal-provincial/territorial agreement.
Language requirements: With limited exceptions, English and French are the only languages that can be required.
Employer compliance: Review is conducted to determine if the employer has been compliant with the program requirements.
Genuineness (all factors must be met for an offer of employment to be considered genuine):
The employer is actively engaged in the business.
The job offer meets the reasonable employment needs of the employer.
The employer is reasonably able to fulfill the terms of employment.
The employer has been compliant with federal or provincial laws that regulate employment and recruitment.
Labour Market Factors (A positive decision is rendered when the global assessment of these factors has a neutral or positive outcome):
Will there be job creation/retention for Canadians or Permanent Residents?
Will there be a transfer of skills/knowledge for Canadians or Permanent Residents?
Will the employment of the foreign national likely fill a labour shortage?
Are the wages offered consistent with the prevailing wage?
Do the working conditions meet generally accepted Canadian standards?
Has the employer made reasonable efforts to hire or train Canadians or Permanent Residents?
Will the employment of the foreign national adversely affect the settlement of a labour dispute?
Has the employer fulfilled or made reasonable efforts to fulfill commitments made, in the context of any assessment that was previously provided?
Upon completion of the assessment, if the Program Officer finds that the hiring of the foreign worker would have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market, a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment is issued, indicating that the employer is permitted to hire a temporary foreign worker.
Program Officers grant the employer a positive LMIA and Quebec employers also receive a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Province of Quebec when all requirements are met.
The employer forwards a copy of the positive decision letter to their foreign worker who attaches it to their application for a Work Permit and/or permanent residency.