Pilot Project for Foreign Spouses and Dependent Children of Highly Skilled Canadians or Permanent Residents Returning to Work in Ontario
Operational Bulletin 229-A – April 23, 2012
Pilot Project for Foreign Spouses and Dependent Children of Highly Skilled Canadians or Permanent Residents Returning to Work in Ontario
The authorities released Operational Bulletin 229 on November 24, 2010. Initially, this pilot was due to conclude on May 23, 2012. However, the authorities have extended this pilot program by a further span of 18 months. As a result, this pilot would remain in effect until May 23, 2013. Therefore, this Operational Bulletin would be effective until then, as well.
The parties concerned with the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement agreed to certain terms. These terms found mention in the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) annex to the Agreement for Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement. The parties signed this agreement in August 2008.
According to Article 4.3:
“4.3 Where a Canadian Permanent Resident or Citizen who has left Canada returns to Canada to re-establish their residence in Ontario and work in Ontario as a Skilled Worker, and he/she is accompanied by a foreign spouse or common law partner and/or dependents, Canada agrees to issue open work permits to that spouse or common law partner and those dependents upon application, provided the applicants are otherwise legally able to work in Ontario. These open work permits should have a validity period of two years.”
In addition, Article 4.3 of the Annex mentions that officers would need to provide an exemption to the dependents described in the above-mentioned excerpt. This waiver would ensure that these dependents do not need to obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). However, the applicants would still need to meet all the admissibility criteria. Only once they meet this, would the authorities give them the status of a Temporary Resident in Canada.
Readers could view the entire text of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement on the CIC website.
The Pilot Parameters
This pilot began on November 24, 2010. The authorities had envisaged that it would run for an initial duration of 18 months, concluding on May 24, 2012. Thereafter however, the authorities concerned have extended this pilot by one year – from May 24, 2012 to May 24, 2013 – inclusively.
The terms of the pilot would only apply to qualifying foreign nationals as described subsequently. Moreover, the terms would only be applicable to qualifying foreign nationals destined to work in the province of Ontario.
In addition, the authorities have restricted the occupations for the Canadian or Permanent Resident re-establishing in Ontario only to accommodate:
- Health professionals and,
- Academics in post-secondary public institutions
This is in accordance with the purposes prescribed for this pilot project. The authorities would first complete the review of this pilot project. Only then would they consider making any changes to these parameters.
The Pilot Procedures
Applicants for this pilot program would need to refer to the Temporary Foreign Worker’s Guidelines (FW 1). This manual contains all the:
- General eligibility criteria
- Conditions specified by the work permit and,
- The processing procedures
All the above-mentioned details would continue to apply in conjunction with the procedures listed below.
- To become eligible for obtaining an open work permit under this pilot program, the applicants would need to meet all the following criteria
- They would need to:
- Be a spouse, a common-law partner or a dependent child of a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident, who:
- Is returning to work in Ontario as:
- A Health professional or,
- An academic in post-secondary public institutions
- This Operational Bulletin lists the occupations allowed under this pilot project at the bottom of this document
- These conditions are in accordance with Section 2, Interpretation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR)
- Can provide a letter from the Province of Ontario – Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, Business Immigration Branch, 18th floor, 56 Wellesley Street W, Toronto, Ontario, M7A 2E7 (Phone: 416‑325‑6975; Fax: 416‑325‑6653, [email protected]), confirming:
- The employment
- The location and,
- The occupation
- The applicant would need to provide this letter for confirming the employment, location and occupation on behalf of the returning Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Be eligible to work in the Province of Ontario
- Situations could emerge where the applicants are working-age dependents
- In this scenario, the employers of these working-age dependents would need to bear the responsibility of ensuring adherence to the provincial minimum age employment standards
- Have the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Case Processing Centre – Mississauga (CPC-M) approve their application for Family Class sponsorship, filed by the returning Canadian citizen or permanent resident
The Process for Issuance of Open Work Permits
The process for issuing open work permit involves the following steps:
- Officers could issue a non job-specific open or open / restricted work permit to a foreign spouse, common-law partner or a dependent child
- Officers would not need to check whether the applicant has a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Service Canada accompanying the application
- In this situation, the dependent would need to apply for the work permit and pay the appropriate fees
- Officers could issue these work permits based on the medical examination requirements, if applicable. This is applicable especially if the officers are issuing a restricted work permit to the foreign spouse, common-law partner or a dependent child.
- The work permit only enables the participant to work in the Province of Ontario only – for the purposes of this pilot
- Applicants could apply for an open work permit:
- Overseas, or,
- In Canada to CPC-Vegreville via:
- Mail or,
- Applicants, who are nationals of visa exempt countries, could also apply at a Port of Entry
- Officers would need to enter the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) exemption code as T13
- This is in accordance with section R204(c) of the IRPR, which states that this is “an agreement entered into by the Minister with a province or group of provinces under subsection 8(1) of the Act”
- Special Program Code
- Officers would need to use the NEW Special Program Code #160 “RCS” for the spouse, common-law partner or dependent of the Canadian citizen or permanent resident in the:
- Field Operations Support Systems (FOSS) or,
- Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System (CAIPS)
- Officers would need to use this code for:
- Assisting immigration and border services officers, when they review these applications and,
- Facilitating statistical research, evaluation and policy development purposes
- Officers would need to ensure that the spouse, common-law partner or dependent’s work permit lists:
- The province of Ontario only in the Province field and,
- That this work permit is only valid for work performed in the province of Ontario in the printed Conditions
Duration and Extensions
Officers would issue this work permit for a span of two years. There would be no extensions to this work permit.
The National Occupation Code list (2006) of eligible occupations as part of the Ontario pilot for returning high-skilled Canadians or Permanent Residents of Canada
Post-Secondary Education (Academics) for Public Institutions
3111 – Specialist Physicians
4121 – University Professors
3112 – General Practitioners and Family Physicians
4122 – Post-Secondary Teaching and Research Assistants
3113 – Dentists
4131 – College and Other Vocational Instructors
3114 – Veterinarians
3121 – Optometrists
3122 – Chiropractors
3123 – Other Professional Occupations in Health Diagnosing and Treating
3131 – Pharmacists
3132 – Dieticians and Nutritionists
3141 – Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists
3142 – Physiotherapists
3143 – Occupational Therapists
3144 – Other Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment
3151 – Head Nurses and Supervisors
3152 – Registered Nurses
3211 – Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists’ Assistants
3212 – Medical Laboratory Technicians
3213 – Veterinary and Animal Health Technologists and Technicians
3214 – Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists and Cardiopulmonary Technologists
3215 – Medical Radiation Technologists
3216 – Medical Sonographers
3217 – Cardiology Technologists
3218 – Electroencephalographic and Other Diagnostic Technologists n.e.c.
3219 – Other Medical Technologists and Technicians (except Dental Health)
3221 – Denturists
3222 – Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists
3223 – Dental Technologists, Technicians and Laboratory Bench Workers
3231 – Opticians
3232 – Midwives and Practitioners of Natural Healing
3233 – Licensed Practical Nurses
3234 – Ambulance Attendants and Other Paramedical Occupations
3235 – Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
Canadians have decided they want their résumé and work history in digital form, with about half the country’s work force now using LinkedIn, the online networking platform. On Thursday the company announced that there are now 10 million Canadians on LinkedIn, up from about 2 million when the website launched here in 2010.
Currently LinkedIn has 300 million members globally. Canada is one of the world’s most active countries on the site and there are three main reasons for this. The Canadian population is an early and high adopter of Internet technology and social media; LinkedIn has added a number of features in recent years to both its free and paid services; and LinkedIn has become “the de facto” way to find a job in today’s market.
Over the last four years there has been a very strong shift from paper to digital résumés and with so much information on the Internet about each person, a LinkedIn profile provides a place where people can control that narrative, with what they decide to highlight and share with their network about their skills, job and educational history.
In addition, as of Sept. 30, there are more than 150,000 active company pages on LinkedIn that represent businesses located in Canada, the company said, and many post their available jobs on the site.
The vision for LinkedIn in Canada is to have every member of the Canadian work force on the site, all the companies in the country, all their jobs and the skills that are needed to fill them. The site can use all that data to help workers, institutions and governments know what skills are in the highest demand, and where there are skills gaps. Also, students can find out how well graduates from various schools have fared in the job market.
Source: The Globe and Mail
In his column for The Toronto Star, columnist Rick Salutin asserts that policies like the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are not merely a cause for concern in Canada. Instead, Salutin writes that because of the widespread effects of globalisation and free trade, temporary foreign workers are currently a global phenomenon, as they move from country to country, seeking jobs and better living conditions than those provided by their native countries, in many cases.
Salutin mentions that initially, temporary foreign workers were simply immigrants. They did jobs that Canadians didn’t want to do. They bought and carefully tended homes in Canada. Their jobs did not define their lives. Consequently, they felt that they – and their kids – were en route to becoming Canadians. Hence, they went about their jobs with verve and panache.
The recent incidents of abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have resulted in several people criticising the Program because it amounts to nothing more than “importing poverty”. However, Salutin mentions that critics conveniently forget that Canada allowed these foreign workers entry and gave them the opportunity to mutate.
Therefore, he refutes the argument that Canada’s immigration policy aims at selecting people with skills and education instead of bringing in “ditchdiggers and hotel maids”. He writes that while Canada allowed workers like “ditchdiggers and hotel maids” to enter the country, it also enabled these workers to raise their children in decent schools. As a result, many of the children of these foreign workers found employment as artists, bankers, teachers, hockey players etc.
Thus, by bringing in foreign workers, who have no stake in the country, are insecure and willing to work for lower wages, Canada ends up with a number of foreign workers, none of whom would ever be able to become Canadian citizens, thereby contributing to the success of the country.
The rise of globalisation and free trade resulted in businesses commencing operations in countries across the world, in an attempt to hire workers at lower wages, thereby boosting profitability. Over time, it became easier to transport entire workforces, as these workers had no citizenship and little rights. This made the issue of temporary foreign workers a global phenomenon, with massive pools of foreign workers “floating” across the globe. When these workers leave Canada, they do not return to their native places. Instead, they move to another country.
Therefore, Salutin writes, policies like the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have their roots in extended historical conflicts over power between forces like capital and labour, often among people who remain clueless about their stakes in the struggle. These policies are no longer issues confined to any specific country or moment currently.
Source: The Toronto Star
Recently, the CEO of McDonald’s Canada addressed anxious franchisees about the CBC’s investigation into the company for the chain’s possible abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. During the call, Betts said, “Jason Kenney really knows his stuff. And I’ll say he knows his stuff from a businessperson’s perspective”.
The Conservative Government has claimed to understand the private sector better than other federal parties did. However, the Conservatives have shown themselves to be remarkably naïve when it comes to understanding the factors that motivate corporate businesses.
Kenney spoke on CBC Radio’s The House, shortly after suspending restaurants from using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. He said, “If it’s true that we have a very tight labour market, we should be seeing more inflation in terms of wages, employers should be responding to tightness in the labour market”.
On the face of it, this would sound logical. A tight labour market would lead to wage inflation and ensure that companies make themselves more attractive to workers. Yet, his words say nothing about governments intervening with a program that enables companies to circumvent the labour market dynamics.
Nor do they raise questions about a government that tweaks a program repeatedly to expedite the process of recruiting temporary workers from outside the country and allows certain employers to set abysmally low wages for these foreign workers.
On all counts, Kenney and the Conservative Government could have foreseen the scenario where no businessperson would pass over the opportunity of capitalising on an environment that boosts productivity and minimizes costs. This is especially so since Kenney “understands a businessperson’s perspective” and the Conservatives understand the private sector.
Kenney’s comments to CBC Radio began with “If it’s true…” They clearly betrayed the fact that he – or his colleagues in the government – have no clue about the job market currently – even if they have been vociferous while talking about acute labour shortages.
Despite the Canadian economy being on the rise, domestic workers are not willing to relocate to where the jobs are. Canada’s Employment Insurance system gives no incentives for workers to relocate either – even in areas suffering from chronic unemployment.
A recent CD Howe report criticised the current version of the TFW program, declaring that the government’s policies actually accelerated the rise in unemployment rates in Alberta and British Columbia. It mentioned that Canada would need to develop better data about the state of the local labour markets, before permitting temporary foreign workers to enter Canada.
Canada’s oil-producing provinces have been ranked among the world’s top economic performers in a newly released think-tank report.
Each year, the Conference Board of Canada ranks 16 of the world’s richest countries in terms of economic performance, based on factors such as growth and employment rates. This year, however, the Canadian think-tank not only analyzed the country as a whole, but also broke down and compared the economies of the ten different provinces.
The findings were somewhat surprising, due to the disparity between those provinces whose economies are oil-based and those that are not. While overall Canada ranked fifth among the world’s richest countries, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland were ranked the top three jurisdictions in the world, when graded separately.
The top-rated economy was Alberta, which outperformed the top-rated country Norway by about $10,000 per capita on income. Ontario, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island all ranked in the middle of the group with countries like Germany and the United Kingdom. At the bottom of the pack were France, Belgium and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
“What this tells us is we have provinces outperforming the rest of the world, and we have provinces that are struggling along with the laggards in the Eurozone,” said Conference Board project director Brenda Lafleur.
The report predicts continued strength for the three oil-producing countries, and recommends that the lagging provinces work on productivity initiatives to boost their economic performances.
Canada’s overall fifth place ranking is an improvement after coming in sixth last year.
Source: Vancouver Sun
How the Temporary Foreign Worker Program Moved from Being a Nimble Program to One that Requires a Complete Revamp
According to popular perception, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, currently under intense Parliamentary scrutiny following a series of program abuse allegations by the Royal Bank of Canada, three McDonald’s franchises in Victoria, British Columbia and a pizza restaurant in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, was a program that had merit on paper initially, before it spiralled out of control.
Currently, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has become a major issue affecting not only unemployed Canadians but also those individuals coming to Canada from abroad, for short-term jobs.
Canada launched the program in 1973, aiming to bringing in highly specialised workers like academics and engineers for meeting skills gaps in the country. In 2002, the Liberals under Jean Chretian, included low-skilled workers under the ambit of the program.
Successive Liberal and Conservative governments continued to tweak the program further so that it expedited the process of bringing in foreign workers into several sectors of the industry, including food and construction, once pilot projects commenced in Alberta and British Columbia. This resulted in the accelerated entry of temporary foreign workers into Canada – moving from 101,000 in 2002 to 338,000 in 2012, with low-skill workers forming the fastest growing denomination of workers.
Under the current program, Canadians lose out on jobs as do several foreign workers. Locals also miss out on employment opportunities and employers keep wages at artificially low levels. In addition, the government also does not have the bandwidth to keep monitoring a program of this size for any possible program abuses.
Researches also back the impact of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. A CD Howe Institute reported that a pilot project that accelerated the approval process for companies to hire low-skill temporary foreign workers, raised unemployment levels.
The Alberta Federation of Labour revealed recently that some companies were paying temporary foreign workers up to $5 less than the prevailing local market wage for the job, with the tacit approval of the federal government. This also means that the program can reduce wages for foreign workers as well.
According to Jason Foster, the coordinator for Athabasca University’s industrial relations program, “The Temporary Foreign Worker Program moved from being a small, nimble program to a large-scale one that the Government could not manage successfully.” While Employment Minister Jason Kenney promised to implement new reforms for the program, experts believe that only a complete revamp of the program could help salvage the situation.
Source: CBC News
Quebec has a great record when it comes to finding new ways of doing things. However, one sector that continues to search for a solution is Quebec’s higher education system – the prime question for many people in the previous election, some 19 months back. This time though, it has been conspicuous by its absence.
Despite that, the question remains unanswered – How does an individual pay for a university system that offers both access and quality? Although this debate is not a new subject for Quebec or for the rest of the world, Quebec must emerge with the answer.
Committed citizens speak of a renaissance for Montreal, which happens to be Canada’s second largest city. However, despite having over 225,000 students at the universities and Cégeps, Montreal still hires less university graduates annually than any other major city in Canada.
It would be impossible to think of a similar renaissance for Quebec without finding some noteworthy funding solutions first. Until then, Quebec needs to find ways to keep its university system and economic future strong. In addition, Quebec also needs to find ways of retaining the talented students it attracts, once these students graduate. According to the president of Concordia University in Montreal, Alan Shepard, Quebec could achieve this in three possible ways.
The first method involves facilitating student immigration and seeking help from universities for this. This means that the authorities must simplify the bureaucratic processes. By connecting these students to the commercial and civic realms of Quebec and teaching them French, the universities could retain these students.
The second proposal entails providing additional physical spaces, linked together by networks, which would enable students to take control of their creativity and innovations. For example, Concordia launched District 3 in 2012. This multi-disciplinary incubator enabled Concordia’s students and alumni to work side-by-side for coming up with solutions or ways to build their own businesses.
The third method entails providing tax incentives for promoting a culture of innovation even further. Last summer, for example, Governor Andrew Cuomo commenced New York’s incubator networks with Start-Up New York, which offered tax credits to businesses that got established on or near a university campus and also supported the university’s mission.
Currently, universities favour merit and access along with the highest ideals of learning. If Quebec could harness these and make them drivers of civic and economic equality, their contribution to Quebec’s future could be invaluable.
Source: The Globe and Mail and Alan Shepard
A new survey reveals that more than half of Canada’s adult workforce is unwilling to relocate for pursuing employment opportunities, which also throws light on why many Canadian companies have to hire temporary foreign workers because of the shortage of local skills.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), checked with more than 2,000 Canadian workers whether they would be willing to move to a job that either operated from elsewhere within their current provinces or from other parts of the country. Experts consider the CERC survey to be accurate to within 2.5 percentage points.
Only 10 percent of the Canadians surveyed expressed their willingness to move, while a third expressed their reservations about the movement, even though they mentioned that with the right levels of persuasion and incentives, they would be willing to relocate for the job.
Reviewing the results of the survey, the head of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council, Stephen Cryne, said that the findings were disturbing. The Council said that the observations from the survey emphasised some of the challenges that businesses, which are looking to attract highly skilled labour, continue to face.
Respondents, who were willing to move to another part of the country for a job, wanted a top incentive of a 20 percent pay hike, in addition to the employer bearing all the expenses related to the relocation.
More than half of the respondents also mentioned that the government could play a vital role in making the relocation more attractive by permitting employers to provide a tax-free housing allowance for up to six months. This would not only help the relocating employees avoid unnecessary accommodation worries that come with a relocation for a new job, it would also enable the employees to settle themselves in the new location.
Half of the respondents also said that the government must permit employers to provide employees with non-taxable, interest-free loans of up to $100,000, so that the relocating employees could purchase a home in the new location.
A 2013 report from Statistics Canada and Haver Analytics shows that the percentage of Canadians moving between provinces has declined steadily over the years since 1977, from 1.5 percent in 1977 to under one percent in 2012.
While the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has recommended that Canada reduce barriers to geographical and occupational mobility, Council head Cryne felt that the government needed to promote the benefits of labour mobility in Canada more vocally.
Source: The Canadian Press
Canada must recognize the potential economic advantage that immigrants bring if it wishes to remain globally competitive, according to one of the country’s top economists.
In a recent piece for the Globe and Mail, Royal Bank of Canada chief executive officer Gordon Nixon, calls for more efforts to tap into under-utilized immigrant skills. He points to a recent RBC study which found that if newcomers earned equal wages to their Canadian-born counterparts, personal income in Canada would increase by $31 billion.
Nixon first calls out employers, saying that more needs to be done to promote diversity in the workplace and embrace international experience.
“A work force with global experience is a competitive advantage,” argues Nixon, who is also chair of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. “International experience is an asset to business. Too often, we hear that newcomers with no Canadian experience would be hard to fit into the Canadian work force. In truth, international experiences relate directly to the modern Canadian context.”
Secondly, states Nixon, governments need to continue the work that they are doing with other levels of government, as well as stakeholders in the community. More funding should go toward skills assessment and training, as well as community support services and cultural activities.
Immigration has helped make Canada the country it is today. We must not forget that part of our heritage if we wish to continue to contribute and compete in the interdependent global marketplace.
“The lesson of our history is clear and points the way to future economic prosperity and success: Canada has relied on diversity and immigration to build a prosperous economy and will continue to do so in the years ahead. We are good at it, but we need to get better to maintain that competitive edge.”
Source: Globe and Mail
While Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been plagued with controversy, there is another much lesser-known program offering foreign workers express entry into Canada.
The Canadian public has likely not heard a lot about the International Experience Canada program, despite the fact that it operates with even less government oversight and regulation than the contentious Temporary Foreign Worker program.
The program allows employers to import workers from countries like France, Ireland and the UK, without first obtaining a labour market opinion – the government’s validation that a particular worker’s skills are in-demand in Canada. IEC also offers no minimum wage requirements.
In exchange, Canadians are able to work abroad in over 30 participating countries.
Worker advocates are concerned about the implications of an unregulated program importing workers, who may be unskilled and could end up driving down wages for Canadians or other foreign workers. It is particularly disconcerting, says Liberal Immigration critic John McCallum, to have this program up and running while the Temporary Foreign Worker program remains suspended due to abuse.
“It sounds like such a wholesome thing on the government’s website — people coming to discover Canada and Canadians going abroad to do the same,” said McCallum. “But this is a huge concern because it seems to totally subvert what they’re trying to do with temporary foreign workers. The government appears to be actively encouraging companies to participate in a program that doesn’t even require labour market opinions.”
A government spokesperson, however, says that the program does not impede Canadian employment, and that the government is currently reviewing both programs to see how they can improve the situation for both workers and employers.
Source: CTV News