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14 July 2024

Immigration alert: Want to massage, dance your way to Canada? Click here

By Majorie van Leijen

Changes have been made to the conditions of issuing a Labour Market Opinion LMO, a necessity for those employers in Canada who wish to hire workers from abroad.

Most drastically, those who offer certain services will no longer be able to receive an LMO.

Canada welcomes hundreds of thousands of foreign workers per year, in job categories where a shortage of local labour is experienced.

These temporary workers are granted a temporary visa through the Temporary Foreign Workers Programme (TFWP).

Any employment agreement made on the basis of this programme must be preceded by the issuance of an LMO, granted by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Issuance of an LMO itself is subjected to a list of requirements, and these requirements have once again changed per December 31, 2013.

Now, LMO’s may no longer be issued to an employer or group of employers who offer stripteases, erotic dances, escort services or erotic massages.

"This change has been made in order to protect temporary foreign workers from possible exploitation, writes Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) on its website.

Further, employers must do the following:

•       Retain any document that relates to employer compliance with working conditions for a period of six years. This period begins with the first day of employment of a foreign worker on a temporary work permit. For this same period, the employer must be able to demonstrate that information they provided on their LMO application is accurate.

•       Make a reasonable effort to ensure that their workplace is free from employee abuse.

•       Hire or train Canadian workers, or make reasonable efforts to this extent, if this was a factor that led to work permit issuance.

Under the new rules, the ESDC has the authority to carry out inspections  for a period of six years from the employment date, to ensure that employers are complying to work permit regulations.

Foreign workers may be questioned during such inspections by their consent.

In case of non-compliance, a company may be deemed ineligible to hire foreign workers for two years, have their name, address, and ineligibility published on a public list, be issued negative LMOs on any pending applications or have previously issued LMOs revoked.

The measures are not the first to make changes to the LMO scheme; last year in July an additional set of measures were implementing, complicating the LMO application procedure further.

Among the measures were the introduction of an issuance fee, more stringent language requirements, and more pressure on employers to prioritise local work force.

The TFWP has been a successful programme for many immigrants looking for career opportunities in Canada, as it guarantees employment upon arrival, other than immigration programmes where the search for a job starts once the visa is acquired.

At the same time, the programme is known to be prone to misuse, with employers favouring foreign workers for their lower salary requirements.

As such, the Canadian government has continuously made changes to the TFWP to guarantee it encourages employers to prioritise local work force over work force from abroad.