Transition Plans: Getting it Right the First Time14-Jul-15
By Brian DeMong
There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the Canadian Government's Temporary Foreign Worker Program in the last few years. In response to a few scandals, the Government has reacted by severely restricting use of the Program. At the same time it requires that foreign nationals with work permits supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment ("LMIA") have a realistic chance of becoming a Permanent Resident under the Express Entry Management System.
Unfortunately for those interested in economic-based residency, obtaining an LMIA has become increasingly complex, labour intensive, expensive, and even risky for employers unaware of the implications of not complying with many new stringent conditions.
Employer Transition Plans have become a critical component in securing LMIAs for high wage/skill positions. Employers must convince Service Canada that they have an effective strategy in place to improve their recruitment of Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents, thereby reducing their reliance on Temporary Foreign Workers ("TFWs").
So how do Canadian employers, who still face sectoral and geographical labour shortages, demonstrate to Service Canada that they are doing their best to attract and retain Canadians? Here is a list of additional ways for employers to increase their reach with potential Canadian employees:
- Target advertising towards high unemployment regions such as the Atlantic provinces and offer conditional financial support for relocations and/or signing bonuses.
- Retain specialized recruiters to head hunt suitable candidates.
- Attract new immigrant Canadians or Permanent Residents, who are frequently unemployed or underemployed, by partnering with local settlement organizations.
- Delay retirement by offering older workers flexible work schedules (e.g. seasonal time off without pay) and increasing workplace technology use.
- Reward existing employees by offering referral incentives (thereby increasing their own loyalty).
- Regularly participate in employment job fairs.
- Offer alternatives to typical benefits (e.g. flexible health spending accounts, gym memberships, etc.).
- Offer more flexible hours to fit individual lifestyles and reduce rush hour commuting.
- Offer conditional paid leave for training.
- Recruit underrepresented groups such as First Nations people and younger workers by advertising on reservations, in high schools, and post-secondary institutions.
- Partner with industrial associations and union groups to facilitate recruitment.
- Create flexible apprenticeships, co-op programs, internships and training on the worksite programs.
- Facilitate the transition of your existing proven and valued TFWs to permanent residence by offering them indeterminate full-time employment, effectively sponsoring them to immigrate. This usually involves using an existing LMIA or applying for a new LMIA.
Employers should note that Transition Plans should be realistic given their labour strategy, resources, and existing policies and procedures. Employers need to commit to activities that are measurable, can be performed within a reasonable period of time, and are new initiatives in their company.