April 25, 2020 | COVID-19

Letter from Ministers to employers – Temporary Foreign Workers – COVID-19

All Canadians and/or foreign workers are bound to comply with the public health and safety guidance from the Federal and Provincial governments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that employers are aware of their obligations and comply with the requirements.

As Temporary Foreign Workers are still allowed to travel to Canada, the Honourable Patty Hajdu (Minister of Health), and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough (Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion), released a letter to employers who have Temporary Foreign Workers employed and/or who plan to bring a TFW to Canada.

You can access this letter and read the link here https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/minister-letter-foreign-workers.html

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Service Canada continues to process LMIA applications, highlighting the importance of foreign workers to the fabric of Canada and to our economy.  Many employers are hesitant to hire a foreign worker in view of the current global situation. The Government of Canada has reduced the burden for employers in order to facilitate TFW applications, by increasing the maximum duration of employment and for LMIAs.

Usually a LMIA for employers of workers in the low-wage stream is valid for a maximum duration of one (1) year. This duration was increased to two (2) years as part of a three-year pilot project. This will make it easier for employers and workers. It is recommended that a LMIA be renewed 6 months prior to the expiration of the workers work permit. When a 1-year LMIA is approved, this means that shortly after the approval, the employer needs to apply for a new LMIA as early as 6 months into the labor contract. The extension will avoid Canadian employers having to spend extra to have the LMIA renewed and guarantees that the worker will maintain his/her job for a 2-year period.

The Government of Canada has made available several tools for employers and workers with questions with respect to their current or future employment contract. Below you will find useful links with respect to the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Temporary Foreign Worker Program compliance:

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/employer-compliance.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/employer-compliance/covid-faq.html

These are trying times to employers and workers and if you have any questions with respect to your current or future employment or if you are an employer hiring Temporary Foreign workers, please contact us for a consultation.