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Canada processing Temporary Foreign Worker applications amid coronavirus measures

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Canada is continuing to process applications for all Temporary Foreign Worker Program streams and working to help Canadian employers along the way.

After coronavirus measures closed the border to most non-residents, industries that rely on temporary foreign workers pressured the government to not disrupt the flow of essential labour to Canada.

CIC News obtained email correspondence from Service Canada Operations shedding light on what officials are currently doing for temporary foreign workers and Canadian employers.

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For starters, Canada will be prioritizing Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) from employers in occupations that are critical in ensuring Canada’s food supply such as primary agriculture, agri-food, food processing and trucking.

Here are some of the other steps the government is taking to allow immigrants to work in Canada.

LMIA Extensions

New LMIAs are being issued with a validity period of nine months, up from six months.

For applicants coming through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) and agricultural stream positions, the validity period goes until December 15, 2020, or nine months, whichever is longer. The program is also granting extensions of three months for those who have already approved LMIAs to make the validity period a total of nine months.

Flexibility for Canadian employers

Administrative reporting requirements will be relaxed during the COVID-19 crisis. Canadian workers will be allowed some flexibility in reporting layoffs and changes to terms of employment, such as wages and hours. More details are still to come.

No new compliance reviews

No new compliance reviews are being undertaken at this time. No new inspections, onsite or paper-based are being initiated. No onsite visits or direct contact with employers or temporary foreign workers are taking place.

The department is acting on critical functions only, and depending on availability, inspections that are already initiated may continue only if they are paper-based and required.

Temporary LMIA intake via email

LMIAs will temporarily be accepted by email due to service disruptions at Canada Post, and in anticipation of the possible closures of some processing offices.

The process for email LMIA intake is still being finalized and Service Canada will be updating the website in the coming week.

Employers can also use LMIA Online to complete the process.

Maintaining and improving service standards

Though their workload strategy is still being finalized, the government is still working to deliver their services on schedule.

They will continue to aim for a 10-day processing standard for the Global Talent Stream.

In an effort to mitigate processing delays they will also accelerate the process to change the foreign worker named on an LMIA. The standard of five business days to change the name has been reduced to one day. Such a measure would be required if the employer needed to hire a different foreign worker from the one they originally put on the LMIA request.

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