The federal government plans to tighten up the temporary foreign workers program with new legislation that would require businesses to hire employees from abroad as a “last resort.”
Ottawa wants to charge employers a new fee for labour market opinions and increase the existing fees for foreigners’ work permits.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney also announced that employers will no longer have flexibility to set the wages for foreign workers.
Current rules allow businesses to pay foreign employees up to 15 per cent below the prevailing wage for certain types of jobs, as long as Canadian workers doing the same job in the same geographic region were earning the same.
The 15-per-cent rule was introduced last year, but Kenney said it was confusing to many people and only about five per cent of employers used it.
The application process that allowed some companies to fast-track the hiring of workers from abroad will also be temporarily halted, the government said.
The new rules will not apply to seasonal programs that bring in agricultural workers from countries like Mexico, Jamaica and Nicaragua, Kenney said.
“Quite frankly, Canadians are not willing to…go work in agricultural jobs,” he told CTV’s Power Play.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor
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Canada / Foreign Skilled Workers / Language ability and education credentials, greater weight to youth
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