Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

January 14, 2008 13:48 ET

Government of Canada Announces Expansion of Temporary Foreign Worker Program Pilot Project to Ease Labour Shortages for Employers in B.C. and Alberta

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 14, 2008) - The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, today announced the expansion of the Expedited Labour Market Opinion pilot project (E-LMO) which will make it faster for employers in British Columbia and Alberta to hire foreign workers in a greater number of specific occupations when there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to fill the positions.

"Our Government is committed to help businesses who face pressures from labour shortages, which is why we're adding 21 new occupations to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program pilot project which we announced last September," said Minister Solberg. "The 33 occupations now included in this pilot represent 50 per cent of the total volume of labour market opinion applications from employers in B.C. and Alberta."

The Pilot will continue to run in B. C. and Alberta until September 2008. It will allow eligible employers needing workers in the 33 specific occupations to receive their Labour Market Opinions much faster than in the past. A Labour Market Opinion is an assessment of the potential impact hiring a foreign worker will have on Canada's labour market. The pilot project originally covered 12 specific occupations, mainly in the health care, hospitality and construction sectors, but with the expansion, it will include more occupations in the construction sector, as well as the engineering, maintenance, sales and service and manufacturing sectors.

"We anticipate needing to attract 30,000 workers with specific skills to British Columbia each year to help meet our labour and skills shortage challenges," said Colin Hansen, British Columbia Minister of Economic Development. "By expanding the number of occupations included in this pilot project, more employers will now benefit from having better and faster access to the temporary foreign workers they need."

The 33 occupations covered by the newly expanded pilot project, have all been identified as being in high demand. The expanded occupations include, for example, ironworkers, pipefitters, roofers, welders, engineers, meat cutters, and specialized cleaners.

"Expanding this pilot to include so many more construction occupations is just more good news for the industry," said Manley McLachlan, President of the British Columbia Construction Association. "Construction projects across British Columbia need workers, and this will help us get those workers in a more timely fashion and keep these projects going."

In Budget 2007, the federal government committed an additional $50.5 million over two years to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to reduce processing delays, and to respond more effectively to regional labour and skill shortages, so employers can better meet their human resource needs.


BACKGROUNDER

TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKER PROGRAM

EXPEDITED LABOUR MARKET OPINION PROCESS

Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC)/Service Canada is expanding the Expedited Labour Market Opinion (E-LMO) pilot project from 12 to 33 occupations. The pilot project began in British Columbia and Alberta on September 24, 2007.

The pilot project represents a significant shift in how HRSDC/Service Canada will assess employer requests for Labour Market Opinions in 21 additional occupations.

The E-LMO pilot project is a two-step process. Employers will first be assessed to determine their eligibility to participate in the pilot project. To become eligible to participate in the pilot project, employers will be required to confirm in writing, by signing the E-LMO eligibility form, that:

(a) the occupations they are applying for are consistent with their principle business activities;

(b) they have been in operation for a minimum of 12 consecutive months and that, during these months, they employed at least one worker; and

(c) they will respond to a Service Canada officer's telephone call to confirm that all the information provided is accurate.

Once their eligibility has been established, employers can request LMOs under the pilot project to be processed within five days upon receipt of their completed application. For 21 additional occupations, this is a significant reduction from the current processing time of up to five months.

The E-LMO pilot project will now affect the following 33 occupations:

Note: New occupations added since the September 24, 2007, announcement are indicated with (i).



- Carpenters;
- Crane Operators;
- Construction Labourers;(i)
- Steamfitters and Pipefitters; (i)
- Ironworkers;(i)
- Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics;(i)
- Machinists;(i)
- Roofers;(i)
- Industrial Electricians;(i)
- Welders;(i)
- Surveyor Helpers;(i)
- Commercial Janitors and Caretakers;(i)
- Specialized Cleaners;(i)
- Mechanical Engineers;(i)
- Civil Engineers;(i)
- Electrical and Electronics Engineers;(i)
- Petroleum Engineers;(i)
- Mechanical Engineering Technologists;(i)
- Hotel and Hospitality Room Attendants;
- Hotel Front Desk Clerks;
- Food and Beverage Servers;
- Food Counter Attendants;
- Food Service Supervisors;(i)
- Industrial Meat Cutters;(i)
- Courier Drivers;(i)
- Residential Cleaning and Support Workers;(i)
- Manufacturing and Processing Labourers;(i)
- Tour and Travel Guides;
- Registered Nurses;
- Dental Technicians;
- Pharmacists;
- Snowboard and Ski Instructors; and
- Retail Sales Persons and Sales Clerks.


These occupations represent about 50 per cent of the combined volume of regular requests for Labour Market Opinions in British Columbia and Alberta.

The E-LMO pilot project will initially be limited to the above occupations, which appear on Occupations Under Pressure lists in both British Columbia and Alberta. The occupations for the pilot project have been identified as being in high demand sectors where there is a high degree of confidence in the labour market information for the sector and it is easily accessible.

The occupations are from sectors where labour market information indicates that the hiring of temporary foreign workers will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market. This pilot project will be evaluated and, depending on the results of the evaluation, may be expanded to include additional occupations.

A dedicated team of Temporary Foreign Worker officers has been established in both British Columbia and Alberta to process E-LMOs.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

  • Minister Solberg's Office
    Lesley Harmer
    819-994-2482
    or
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559