Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program Adjusts its Median Wage Requirements and Addresses the Impacts of COVID-19
Recent analyses reveal that employees in Canadian provinces and territories have received increases in their hourly wages. In order to identify and meet the requirements of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), Canadian employers who employ foreign employees go by the provincial and territorial median hourly wage.
Whether employers should apply for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under the stream for high-wage or low-wage positions will be based on how much they pay and where the position is located. On May 11, 2020, the new median wage requirements became effective. For example, Alberta’s median hourly wage went from $26.67 to $27.28, British Columbia’s grew to $25 from $23.98, and Quebec’s increased from $22 to 23.08.
The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on Canadian Employers and Foreign Workers
The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges for employers, one of them being able to hire foreign workers. However, Canada’s government is stepping up to assist employers as they attempt to work around the restrictions and challenges.
Employment Social Development Canada (ESDC) is applying several actions to all new and current LMIA applications to help both employers and foreign employees. These measures include:
- Employers are only obligated to make minor administrative changes to the LMIA if they would change their terms and conditions
- The recruitment requirements for LMIAs in agriculture and agri-food divisions are waived through October 2020
- LMIAs for jobs in the agriculture and agri-food sectors are given priority
- Employers who hire people in the low-wage stream as part of a three-year pilot have an increased maximum length of employment under LMIAs of two years
- Employers who are under the Agricultural stream or Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program do not need to submit a new Housing Inspection Report; instead, they can provide a previously valid report
- The procedures for changing a name for employers on the LMIA for reasons that correlate with COVID-19 have been accelerated
In addition to these provisions, Canada has incentives and resources for companies that are making their processes safer for their new foreign employees. There is currently a $50 million initiative for employers who support employees in taking part in the required period of isolation.
Border Crossing Restrictions in Place
The global coronavirus outbreak has caused many countries to place restrictions on foreigners crossing their borders, Canada being one of them. Foreign workers will only be permitted to cross the border if they are entering for an essential reason, as defined by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). Foreign nationals who need to enter the country to work in an area that is related to critical infrastructure are typically allowed entrance. However, they must show proof that they can only perform their job duties if they are physically living in Canada, and they have an acceptable plan to quarantine.
Applying for a Temporary Work Permit? Nanda & Associate Lawyers Can Help
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