As previously reported (see our bulletin at this link: Detailed Overview of Changes to Canada's Foreign Worker Program), major changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program were introduced on April 1, 2011.

It is imperative that all employers, foreign workers and HR professionals be aware of the changes. Non-compliance may lead to a two year ban from being able to hire or employ foreign workers in Canada. This would negatively affect Canadian employers that rely on skilled foreign workers.

The changes include placing a four year time cap for working in Canada on some foreign workers; stricter assessment of the genuineness of employment offers; and stricter compliance requirements placed on employers.

Employers must make sure that they maintain substantially the same terms of employment for foreign workers. Prospective changes to salary, position, or other terms of employment will often mean that employers will need to obtain a new Labour Market Opinion (LMO) and/or work permit.

Immigration Canada (CIC) has provided further details about the new regulations and how they will be applied in these Operational Instructions on New Regulations.

Practical tips for dealing with the new rules are set out in our Detailed Overview bulletin.

It has been six months since the new regulations were introduced, and it is clear that one of the effects has been an increase in processing times for LMO processing at Service Canada offices.

One reason for this is that the additional requirement to assess the genuineness of job offers to foreign nationals has increased the amount of work that must be done on each LMO application by the reviewing officer. It remains to be seen if processing times will continue to increase, but employers should be aware that LMOs are taking longer and this means that they should be trying to apply for an LMO well before the expected start date of the worker.

Gowlings Bulletin Re: Detailed Overview of Changes to Canada's Foreign Worker Program

CIC Backgrounder on Regulatory Changes

CIC's Operational Instructions on New Regulations