Hiring a foreign worker? Plan ahead and take out your wallet! 


August 2013

Employment and Labour Bulletin

We published a bulletin in early May when the federal government announced the first in a series of legislative, regulatory and administrative changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) "ensuring Canadians have first chance at available jobs". Step 2 has now followed.

On July 31, 2013, the government announced further changes that will have an immediate impact on the hiring of foreign workers.

The four major changes are as follows:

  • Fee For Labour Market Opinion (LMO) Processing
    • An employer applying for an LMO must now pay a non-refundable processing fee of $275 for each foreign worker requested in an LMO application. Service Canada will not assess an LMO application until the fee has been paid in full
  • Advertising Requirements
    • The advertising period has been increased from two weeks to four weeks.
    • In addition to advertising on the National Job Bank or provincial equivalent, employers must use at least two other methods of recruitment that are consistent with the general advertising practices for the position.
    • If hiring for a higher-skilled occupation, one of the recruitment methods must be national in scope. The Job Bank is not considered to be national in scope. 
    • If hiring for a lower-skilled occupation, the employer must demonstrate that it has made efforts to target under-represented groups in the labour force, such as aboriginal youth, persons with disabilities and new immigrants.
    • The employer must continue to actively seek a Canadian for the position until an LMO is actually issued.
  • Language Restrictions
    • English and French are the only two languages that can be identified as a job requirement in LMO applications and in job advertisements, unless the employer can demonstrate that another language is essential for the position; for example, a company in the business of translating documents.
  • Questions re: Effect on the Canadian Job Market
    • LMO application forms will now include questions surrounding the effect that hiring a temporary foreign worker will have on Canada's job market. These questions have been added to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.

The lengthy advertising requirement will put significant pressure on Canadian employers. Coupled with the current and likely to get longer assessment periods for LMOs, this means that many new hires will not be able to begin work in Canada for at least four months. There are some limited exemptions from the advertising requirements.

Many of these reforms are a direct result of the uproar surrounding the outsourcing of jobs overseas by some larger Canadian employers earlier this year. The outcry was caused by Service Canada's approval of many LMOs to enable foreign nationals to enter Canada to be trained by the Canadians whose jobs they would be taking overseas. Now a refusal to issue an LMO will result if hiring a foreign worker will have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market or if an employer has not complied with TFWP requirements. 

by David Elenbaas and Katie Van Nostrand

a cautionary note

The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.

© McMillan LLP 2013