B.C. welcomes improvements
to federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program
By Pat Bell
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
April 27, 2012
VICTORIA – Changes announced April 25 by the Government of Canada to expedite and improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are welcome news for many B.C. employers.
New rules mean the federal government will expedite application-processing for select employers to within ten days, to fill high skilled job vacancies for which no local workers are available.
The new accelerated-labour market opinion (A-LMO) means greater flexibility for companies who have faced red-tape hurdles that have hurt their bottom line, as well as their abilities to innovate and create new jobs. Employers still need to prove they have been unsuccessful in filling vacancies with existing B.C. workers.
New regulations will also weed out employers who intend to break the rules. As well, they will offer better protection for successful TFWs coming to British Columbia.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the federal departments that jointly administer the TFW program, announced the following changes to the program: a simplified online application process; faster and timelier processing for employers with a positive history with the program; risk-based and random in-depth compliance reviews of employers after LMOs are issued; and a call centre to support employers, among other enhancements.
To be clear, our first priority is to use every available source of labour currently in B.C. However, we know given the forecast that over the next decade there will be over one million job openings due to our aging workforce and economic growth, we will not be able to meet our labour-market demands without new skilled immigrants.
B.C. would also like the federal government to increase its Provincial Nominee Program annual quota of 3,500 nominees to 5,000 in 2012 and 6,500 in 2013. Including the immediate family members who accompany nominees, this would bring over 10,000 people to B.C. every year through the program.
The Province would also welcome similar changes to allow for accelerated recruitment to fill vacancies in lower-skilled occupations, particularly in the Northeast region of B.C., where employers are facing critical labour shortages.
We know that having sufficient numbers of skilled labourers to fill jobs in B.C. is a major concern for employers, and immigration is one of the most-important avenues to attract skilled workers. Filling existing job vacancies faster will enable employers to operate more efficiently, and allow them to create more jobs for B.C. families: a key priority from the BC Jobs Plan.
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect