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CRFA applauds TFW program changes


May 3, 2012
By Canadian Pizza

May 3, 2012, Toronto – Two changes have been made to the Temporary
Foreign Worker (TFW) program that will cut red tape for many employers
facing labour shortages.

May 3, 2012, Toronto – Two changes have been made to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program that will cut red tape for many employers facing labour shortages. The changes introduced last week by Minister Diane Finley are designed to improve efficiency while maintaining the integrity of the program.

"These changes will reduce the lengthy processing time it takes to approve applications to hire temporary foreign workers for employers with a good track record, and allow restaurateurs to continue to serve their customers and invest in their communities," says Garth Whyte, president and CEO of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

The new Temporary Foreign Worker Web Service will allow employers to submit applications and supporting documents for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) electronically and monitor their status online. An LMO is required to demonstrate that employers have attempted to hire locally for the job before they can hire from abroad. Qualifying employers can receive an Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (A-LMO) for higher skilled occupations within 10 days instead of the current wait time of over 6 weeks.

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According to the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, the food and beverage sector will be short by more than 35,000 workers by 2015 with the most acute shortages in lower-skilled occupations. Restaurateurs rely on TFWs when they cannot find workers domestically to fill vacancies. "We encourage the government to expand A-LMOs for employers with a positive history with the program who need help filling low-skilled vacancies too," says Whyte.

The new rules also address situations where employers were forced to pay foreign workers more than their existing Canadian staff when the government-calculated prevailing wage rate was higher than their actual payroll wages. Under an A-LMO, qualifying employers can now pay their highly skilled TFWs the same wages as the Canadian or permanent residents who work for them in the same occupation, provided this wage is within 15 per cent of the prevailing wage rate calculated by the Government of Canada.