Changes to Canada

Companies applying to hire temporary foreign workers will have to pay a $275 processing fee per position under new changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP), according to Jason Kenney, minister of employment and social services.

The changes, which actually took effect July 31, are part of a revamp which was touched off by widespread complaints about the program after it was reported in the media in April that the TFWP was used by the Royal Bank of Canada to hire foreign workers for IT positions that were held by local employees.

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The fee will be used to cover the cost of processing a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) to ensure that the cost of processing the LMO is no longer paid for by Canadian taxpayers. The LMO is a document that shows there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a job and that no Canadian worker is able to do the job.

English and French are now the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement, both in the LMO request and in the advertisement that employers seeking to hire TFW (temporary foreign workers) need to post.

The processing fees and the language restrictions do not apply to positions under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

Changes to LMO also include additional questions in the application form which are designed to “help ensure that the TFWP is not being used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs,” according to the Employment and Social Development Canada.

“These additional reforms help ensure that Canadians are first in line for available jobs,” said Kenney in a statement. “…Qualified Canadians, including new Canadians, should have first crack at available jobs.”

He said the changes will ensure that the TFWP will be “used as intended – to fill acute skills shortage in a temporary basis.”

There was a lot of public outcry in April this year when it was learned that RBC let go 45 of its permanent IT employees and had hired technology professional recruitment firm iGate Corp.to firm to find foreign workers to fill those posts.

The controversy caused Gord Nixon, CEO of RBC to issue a public apology to the employees affected by the bank’s decision to outsource their jobs. He promised the employees they would be offered comparable positions within RBC.

According to analyst firm IDC Canada outsourcing grew to $15 billion last year.

IDC Outsourcing Monitor report found that six out of 10 Canadian employers resort to outsourcing in order to cut cost. Firms save an average of 35 per cent by outsourcing labour.

Respondents to the IDC survey said that access to specialized IT skills and competitive advantages are among the top benefits companies get from outsourcing.

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