ARCHIVED – Backgrounder — Temporary Foreign Worker Annex to the Agreement for Canada-Yukon Cooperation on Immigration

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is jointly administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)/Service Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), under the authority of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations.

An employer who wants to hire a temporary foreign worker (TFW) must first apply to HRSDC/Service Canada for a labour market opinion (LMO). The LMO assesses the impact the TFW would have on Canada’s labour market and whether there are Canadians or permanent residents available for the employer to hire. Some TFWs are exempted from this requirement. In those cases, the TFW may apply for a work permit without an LMO.

CIC is responsible for issuing work permits to TFWs. Following receipt of an application for a work permit and a copy of the letter confirming that an employer received an LMO authorizing the hiring of the TFW, CIC determines whether the TFW is eligible to receive a work permit.

Yukon’s role in managing the TFWP

This agreement is an annex to the Agreement for Canada-Yukon Cooperation on Immigration that was signed in 2008. With this annex in place, the Government of Yukon may now identify situations where occupations could be exempted from the requirement to obtain an LMO. In order to benefit from this LMO exemption, applicants will have to meet criteria that will be set by Yukon.

In finalizing the above-mentioned process, Yukon may choose to place increased importance on certain types of jobs or sectors. The criteria for the exemption will take into consideration Yukon’s economic goals and priorities.

The agreement also includes a commitment to develop several pilot projects. Details of the pilot projects will be announced when they are implemented.

Protection of TFWs

With greater involvement in managing TFWs, the Government of Yukon agrees to make information available to better inform foreign workers on territorial health insurance and workers’ compensation benefits, as well as applicable employer- or government-sponsored pension plans.

Yukon also agrees to inform TFWs about their protection under occupational health and safety, employment and labour relations standards. This is in addition to a number of measures that were recently adopted by the federal government and that will take effect on April 1, 2011.

Federal initiatives

The agreement affirms HRSDC’s commitment to work with all provinces and territories to establish national service standards for processing LMO applications. Furthermore, HRSDC will soon provide employers with a notification of receipt of their LMO applications. Employers across Canada will benefit from these improvements.

Through this agreement, the Government of Yukon will identify particular sectors, occupations or workers that will be exempted from the LMO process. These exemptions will be in addition to existing provisions for exemptions from the LMO requirement. For those seeking guidance on whether they need an LMO, CIC has a service standard of responding to 80 percent of inquiries within five business days.

Agreements with other provinces and territories

To date, similar TFW agreements have been signed with Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. The Government of Canada continues to work with other interested provinces and territories to develop agreements that will ensure the TFWP continues to respond to regional and local labour market needs.

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