Coping with COVID-19: Important Updates for Employers of Temporary Foreign Workers
May 14, 2020
By Sarah McInnes, Partner at McInnes Cooper,
David Nurse, Counsel at McInnes Cooper
Two new immigration policies have recently been introduced to address labour market challenges in Canada in light of COVID-19, both of which will greatly benefit prospective employers and temporary foreign workers.
First, under a new policy revealed on May 12, 2020, temporary workers who are already in Canada can more quickly change to new jobs or employers while their work permit application is being processed.
Second, changes have also been made to the recruitment requirements under the Temporary Foreign Worker program (TWFP) to allow employers to more quickly hire foreign workers to fill labour shortages in the agriculture, food processing and food supply industries.
Here is how these new policies benefit foreign workers and prospective employers.
1. Exemptions to work permit conditions when changing employment
On May 12, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a temporary policy directed at addressing the challenges posed to Canada’s labour market in light of Covid-19. Under this policy, temporary workers who are already in Canada can more quickly change to new jobs or employers while their work permit application is being processed. This new policy will greatly benefit foreign workers and prospective employers, as these applications are currently taking three months to process.
- The temporary worker must be in Canada with valid status. This applies to workers who are in Canada with an employer-specific work permit, those in Canada under a work permit exemption and those on implied status.
- The temporary worker must have a valid job offer;
- The temporary worker must have applied for a work permit in respect of the new job.
IRCC envisages a short processing period of 10 days or less.
2. Labour Market Impact Assessment advertising waiver
There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a new challenge to food security; in response, changes have been made to the Temporary Foreign Worker program (TWFP) to allow employers to more quickly hire foreign workers to fill labour shortages in the agriculture, food processing and food supply industries.
Effective March 20, 2020 until October 31, 2020, ESDC is waiving the minimum advertising requirements for certain occupations in agriculture, food processing and trucking.
Here is what you need to know about the waiver:
Specific occupations in agriculture, food processing and trucking
This waiver applies to the following ten occupations
- Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers-retail and wholesale;
- Transport Truck Drivers;
- Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers;
- General Farm Workers;
- Nursery and Greenhouse Workers;
- Harvesting labourers;
- Fish and seafood plant workers;
- Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing;
- Labourers in fish and seafood processing; and
- Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers.
No advertisement requirement
Prior to this waiver, employers were required to advertise on the national Job Bank and at least two additional methods of recruitment for a minimum of 4 weeks prior to applying for an LMIA. This advertising requirement has now been removed.
Implication for Canadian employers
During this period, Canadian employers will be able to fill their labour needs more efficiently and with less administrative burden. Further, ESDC is prioritizing the processing of these applications.
Please contact your McInnes Cooper lawyer or any member of our Immigration Law Team @ McInnes Cooper to discuss this topic or any other legal issue.
McInnes Cooper has prepared this document for information only; it is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult McInnes Cooper about your unique circumstances before acting on this information. McInnes Cooper excludes all liability for anything contained in this document and any use you make of it.
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