Operational Bulletin 279-E – July 26, 2013
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) replaced OB 279-D with OB 279-E. The purpose of this Operational Bulletin (OB) is to:
- Announce a one-year extension of the Alberta pilot project for Occupation-specific Work Permits. The CIC has extended the application deadline from August 01, 2013 to July 31, 2014. This has also led to an extension in the participation period of the pilot. The participation period of the pilot is now valid until July 31, 2017.
- Update the reference to the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process. Employers not wishing to participate in the Alberta pilot project for Occupation-specific Work Permits can apply to this reference.
- Clarify that applicants do not always need to have an Alberta Qualification Certificate Program (QCP) approval letter from the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT). This is especially true for applicants engaged in optional trades. Thus, applicants working as carpenters, millwrights etc. do not need to have this letter to present along with their Work Permit (WP) request or application.
- Clarify certain Work Permit processing instructions. This OB guides officers on how to treat applications for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs):
- With a job offer from an employer, who is a member of a recognised Group of Employers (GoE) or,
- Who are currently employed by an employer, who is a member of a recognised Group of Employers (GoE)
The authorities launched the TFW Annex pilot project on June 01, 2011 in the Province of Alberta. This pilot project enabled foreign nationals to come to Canada. It enabled them to work temporarily in a specific occupation. Officers of the CIC could issue them a Work Permit that allowed them to move freely between employers. Such foreign workers did not need an LMO from Service Canada for moving freely between employers. However, they needed to meet specific requirements for this.
The authorities established this pilot project under the TFW Annex to the Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration. Section 7.2.1 of this Agreement contains the following commitment:
“The Canada-Alberta Working Group on TFWs, defined in section 9.2, will work toward developing occupation-specific (but non-employer specific) WPs for TFWs working in Alberta in the engineering, construction and procurement industries to permit limited mobility of certain high-skilled TFWs within a particular industrial sector.”
The List of Approved Pilot Occupations
The list of approved pilot occupations under the Alberta pilot project for Occupation-specific Work Permits is as follows.
National Occupation Classification (NOC)
Welder wire Process Operator
Heavy-duty Equipment Mechanic including
Heavy Equipment Technician including
Millwright and Industrial Mechanic
Employers who do not require a journeyperson level millwright do not need to participate in the pilot.
They can hire TFWs instead under the LMO process.
Employers who do not require a journeyperson level carpenter do not need to participate in the pilot.
They can hire TFWs instead under the LMO process.
Qualified estimators do not need to apply to the Alberta QCP.
This is because they have certificates issued by the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS).
Therefore, they will not have an approval letter from the AIT.
Pilot Project Parameters
The authorities aim to protect the Canadian labour market. Therefore, foreign nationals applying for work in Canada under this Pilot must have an initial job offer. This job offer could be from:
- An Alberta employer or,
- An employer acting on behalf of a recognised GoE under the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) – Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) GoE pilot
Officers must scrutinise the terms and conditions of this job offer. They must check that the job offer indicates that:
- The wages offered are consistent with the prevailing rate paid to Canadians in the same occupation in the region and,
- The working conditions for the occupation meet current provincial labour market standards
This Pilot provides an eligibility to TFW applicants who have a job offer in one of the listed pilot occupations. Such applicants must have job offers for positions located in Alberta. Under this Pilot, TFW applicants meeting the stipulated criteria are eligible for one of the following:
- A 1-year Work Permit that is both, occupation-specific and employer-specific, OR
- This is for foreign nationals, who are not certified, but who possess a valid AIT Approval letter and a valid job offer
- A 2-year occupation-specific OPEN Work Permit for the Province of Alberta, OR
- This is for foreign nationals, who are certified or recognised as certified by Alberta, who have a valid job offer
- A short-term employer-specific Work Permit issued for the duration authorised by the AIT
- This is for foreign nationals in compulsory skilled trades only
- This short-term Work Permit would not exceed a duration of 90 days and,
- Applicants would need to have an AIT Authorisation Letter instead of the usual Approval letter
- This deadline date is only applicable with regards to initial applications for entering the pilot
- Participants can apply in Canada for the 2-year OPEN Work Permit before the expiry of their initial 1-year employer-specific Work Permit if:
- The participant is already in the Pilot and,
- The uncertified participant has successfully challenged the AIT QCP exam and,
- The participant has obtained trade certification in Alberta
Requirements Prescribed by the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT)
According to the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT), Alberta industry bears the responsibility for tradespersons working in Alberta. This includes looking after their training and certification standards. The AAIT evaluates and tests out-of-country tradespersons destined to work in the province to:
- Promote workplace safety and,
- Maintain industry standards in Alberta
Therefore, TFWs wanting to work in a compulsory certification trade in Alberta need to be certified journeypersons. Further, they must have one of the following documents. These include:
- A valid Alberta Qualification Certificate
- A valid Canadian provincial or territorial trade certificate recognised by Alberta (refer to the notes beneath this section)
- A valid out of country trade certificate recognised as an equivalent by Alberta (refer to the List of Recognised Certificates in Alberta)
- A valid Alberta Equivalency Document
- An authorisation letter from AAIT that enables a requesting employer to recruit TFWs in specified occupations for specialty work. This would usually be for shorter periods. The TFW would need to obtain this authorisation before coming to Canada.
- An approved application obtained from the AAIT for the Alberta Qualification Certificate Program (QCP). Officers also refer to this as an AAIT QCP approval letter. TFWs would need to obtain this letter prior to coming to Canada. This is valid in situations where an authorisation letter from AAIT does not apply.
All TFWs with approved QCP applications are eligible for working in Alberta. However, they would to have a certified journeyperson supervising them.
The QCP application approval letter is valid for a period of up to one year. Upon arriving in Canada, the TFW has up to 12 months for challenging the QCP exams. Once the TFW meets all industry trade requirements, he receives an Alberta Qualification Certificate. The TFW would also need to clear all the required trade examinations, before receiving the Alberta Qualification Certificate.
- The Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education website contains further information on AIT certification requirements for working in a trade in Alberta
- OB 434 also provides more information on the AIT certification requirements for working in a trade in Alberta
Officers would not issue any work permit extensions under this pilot project.
- Officers would enter ‘T13’ in the LMO Exemption Code field
- This is in accordance with R204(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
- The Regulations state “… an agreement entered into by the Minister with a province or group of provinces under subsection 8(1) of the Act.”
- Officers would need to use this code on the:
- Initial 1-year Work Permit and,
- The subsequent 2-year open Work Permit
- Officers would also need to check the Province field and the Conditions field in the initial employer-specific and occupation-specific Work Permits and the subsequent open Work Permits
- The Province and the Conditions fields must indicate that:
- The Work Permit is valid only for work performed in the Province of Alberta
- The Work Permit is valid only for one of the approved occupations under this Pilot project
- The Remarks/Notes field must also mention that “This Work Permit application is in relation to the Province of Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot Project – OB 279-E”
- This note would be useful during various statistical researches, evaluations and policy development purposes
This Pilot Project would assess the benefits and usefulness of issuing an occupation-specific, but otherwise “Open” Work Permit. It would assess whether issuing an occupation-specific but an otherwise “Open” Work Permit in a specific occupations facilitates the successful mobility of a skilled TFW. This is with special regards to successful mobility within a particular industrial sector.
The Province of Alberta would commence a review and an evaluation of this Pilot Project in 2013.
People desiring further information about this Pilot Project could consult the Factsheet on the Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education website.
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)