On April 25th, 2012, Service Canada announced a new Accelerated Labour Market Opinion Initiative (A-LMO), which acknowledges previously successful employers, who have obtained at least one positive Labour Market Opinion in the previous two years and who remain compliant with the temporary foreign worker program. The reward for compliance is the guarantee that new Labour Market Opinion requests will be processed within 10 business days to assist the employer’s business needs and urgent labour shortages. This is a dramatic decrease from the 14 week processing time recently experienced by employers submitting LMO applications to the Service Canada office for the Alberta/NWT and Nunavut region and the 8-12 week processing for those submitted for the British Columbia region.
To be eligible for the A-LMO employers must:
- have been issued at least one positive Labour Market Opinion in the previous two years;
- have a clean compliance record with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program within the last two years;
- have agreed to all of the attestations included in the A-LMO application, consenting to participate in a post A-LMO compliance review;
- not have been the subject of an investigation, infraction or a serious complaint, and
- not have any unresolved violations or contraventions under provincial laws governing employment and recruitment.
The A-LMO Initiative applies only to skilled positions such as management, professional and technical occupations (classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type 0, and skill levels A and B).
The A-LMO promises to be a quick response to the labour shortage, but the process does not end once the employer secures a positive Labour Market Opinion. Rather, Service Canada will likely become much more involved with these employers on a long term basis and will be performing random and risk based audits on a regular and ad hoc basis. More than ever, employers need to understand the responsibility and implications of employer compliance. Employers must be able to demonstrate that they are abiding by all conditions imposed on the Labour Market Opinions and work permits by offering substantially the same wages and working conditions, and complying with the program recruitment requirements, as well as federal and provincial legislation.
This a critical time to make sure your business is in a positive position to make such an attestation, and is backed up by supporting documents, payroll information, and more. To assist your company with this process, we have prepared the Miller Thomson Temporary Foreign Worker Internal Audit Tool Kit, which is designed to help your company internally audit its foreign worker program and to remedy any deficiencies. This Kit is also designed to prepare your business for compliance reviews. For a copy of this Kit, or for any other information on the temporary foreign worker program and the new A-LMO, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.