On June 12, 2017, the Government of Canada launched its new Global Skills Strategy, with the intent of providing employers with a faster and more predictable process for attracting top talent and new skills to Canada, stimulating economic growth, and creating more middle-class jobs for Canadians. In particular, the Global Skills Strategy aims to support high-growth Canadian companies that need to access global talent. The government also hopes the Strategy will result in global companies (i) making large investments in Canada, (ii) relocating to Canada, (iii) establishing new production in Canada, and/or (iv) expanding existing production in Canada, all with the aim of creating new jobs for Canadians.
Effective June 12, 2017, employers and highly-skilled workers can access the Global Skills Strategy in the following ways:
- Work Permit Exemptions for Highly Skilled Short-Term Workers: Two new areas of short-term work have been exempt from the requirement to obtain work permits. Highly-skilled workers who need to come to Canada for a very short-term assignment and researchers taking part in short-duration research projects conducted in Canada who qualify for this exemption will not require a work permit. In particular:
- The exemption for highly-skilled workers applies to all National Occupation Classification (NOC) 0 and NOC A workers (managers and professionals). Eligible NOC 0 and NOC A workers will be allowed one 15-day work permit-exempt stay in Canada every six months, or one 30-day work permit-exempt stay every 12 months; and
- Researchers coming to Canada will be permitted one 120-day stay every 12 months without requiring a work permit when working on a research project at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution.
- New Global Talent Stream under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): The new global talent stream allows: (i) faster processing of Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) to eligible employers; and (ii) recruitment of highly specialized and skilled global talent. The processing times will be 10 business days (to be met 80% of the time) and, while there is no minimum recruitment requirement, the employer is encouraged to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents first. The Global Talent Stream has two categories:
- Category A: This category is for high-growth firms that can demonstrate a need to hire unique and specialized talent, and have been referred to the Global Talent Stream by a Designated Partner (one of 14 agencies, associations and organizations designated by the federal government). Unique and specialized talent is defined as having: (i) advanced knowledge of the industry; (ii) an advanced degree in an area of specialization of interest to the employer; and/or (iii) a minimum of five years of experience in the field of specialized experience; and (iv) a highly paid position with a salary of usually $80,000 or more. The employer must, in their Labour Market Benefit Plan (“LMBP”), commit to creating jobs, either directly or indirectly, for Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents, and must commit to at least two other complementary benefits that are not the same as the mandatory benefits for that employer.
- Category B: This category is for employers seeking to hire highly skilled foreign workers to fill occupations found on the Global Talent Occupations List. The employer must comply with program requirements and uphold specific conditions as set out in Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. As part of the LMBP, the employer must commit to increasing skills and training investments for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, as well as at least two other complementary benefits.
- Dedicated Service Channel: A new Dedicated Service Channel (“DSC”) will be available to: (i) employers who are making a significant investment in Canada; and (ii) universities that support publically-funded research chairs coming to Canada. The DSC will give those employers access to an account manager, who will assess the employer’s needs, answer questions, and provide guidance.
- Faster Work Permit Processing: High-skilled workers coming to Canada on a temporary basis will be able to have their work permit applications (and temporary resident visas, where necessary) processed within two-weeks. Open work permits for spouses and study permits for dependants will also be processed in two weeks when applicable.
If the Global Skills Strategy is rolled out as intended by the federal government, then it will help employers across Canada access temporary, high-skilled and global talent, and scale up or expand their workforce’s knowledge of specialized skills so that they can be more innovative and build their expertise.