Following the recent announcement of the removal of 10% caps on low wage Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWs) for seasonal tourism occupations with a work period of 6 months or less, TIAC would like to offer further clarification on some aspects of the program.
What has changed for the TFW program?
Tourism TFWs (hired for periods of 6 month or less, in low wage, seasonal positions) are exempt from program caps and WILL NOT be included in cap limit calculations of 20% (and 10% once the cap is reduced on July 1, 2016).
- The $1,000 fee per worker and the LMIA requirements still apply.
- Businesses can apply for as many 180-day positions as they want but the applications must be made in one bulk application. To be clear, only ONE application can be submitted under this exemption but that application can cover multiple temporary foreign workers.
- The department suggests that to avoid confusion, businesses apply for their 6 month TFWs in a separate application than their application for longer term TFWs.
- Applications should be made by December 31st 2016.
Please note we have received reports of Service Canada employees telling tourism businesses that tourism is not included in this exemption. This is incorrect. TIAC is working with the department to rectify this and has received written confirmation that "Any seasonal business as long as they meet the criteria/definition of seasonal is eligible." Tourism businesses who are told they are not eligible are encouraged to report these incidents to TIAC (email@example.com) including the Service Canada employee's name.
I have already filled out and received a positive LMIA this year, do I have to go through the whole process all over again to get more TFWs beyond the 10% cap for this summer?
TIAC is aware of long processing times for LMIAs and that starting a new LMIA now may not enable an employer to hire TFWs in time for the high season this summer. While there is no clear regulation on applying a positive LMIA to new TFW applications for workers beyond the 10% cap, ESDC has indicated to TIAC that it would be worthwhile for employers to contact Service Canada to see if they a) can reuse a positive LMIA b) could be eligible for an expedited process.
1) In addition to calling the Employer Contact Centre below, TIAC suggests that any employer wishing to skip/expedite the LMIA process for additional TFWs over the cap provide Service Canada with a letter (cc'ing TIAC) outlining the urgency of their request including the following information:
- A list of all efforts made to hire Canadians
- Anticipated increase in business this summer (with evidence based on bookings, inquiries, website traffic, etc)
- Anticipated service reductions if additional labour needs are not met (reduced hours, reduced services, closed floors of hotels, etc)
- Other information
2) For TIAC MEMBERS ONLY: Please email the information above as well as contact information for your business (including the postal code for the location of the business if it is different from the head office) to firstname.lastname@example.org and TIAC will issue you an additional, personalized letter in support of your request signed by Charlotte Bell, President & CEO, cc'ing your local Member of Parliament.
Does the deadline of December 31st 2016 refer to the application or the work period?
It refers to the application - 180 day contracts may take place in 2017.
Does my application still have to meet the requirement of an unemployment rate of under 6 % for my economic region?
Yes. However please note there has been some confusion as to which unemployment numbers are used for the purposes of the TFW program. The program only uses the following unemployment data based on the previous year's unemployment data, so year-to-date numbers don't
Also note that the data will be updated on April 1st 2016.
I have other questions, who can I contact?
To obtain information and assistance with Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications, call the Employer Contact Centre from Monday to Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time:
Within Canada and the United States (except Quebec): 1-800-367-5693 (toll-free)
Outside Canada and the United States: 506-546-7569, Monday to Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
In Québec dial: 1-866-840-0222 (toll-free) or 438-892-0299 (for calls within and outside Canada).