Temporary Foreign Worker Program increases median hourly wages

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) is an immigration program that allows foreign workers from all over the world (including the Philippines) to come to Canada to work for authorized Canadian employers. Interested?

The Government of Canada‘s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) has just increased the median hourly wages for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as well as other foreign workers.

Canadian employers of OFWs use provincial and territorial median hourly wages to determine salaries. Wages offered, as well as the province or territory of employment determine if Canadian employers will need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for high-wage or low-wage positions.

The median wage requirements are effective starting May 11, 2020. The changes are as follows:

ALBERTACAD$27.28 (up from CAD$26.67)

BRITISH COLUMBIACAD$25.00 (up from CAD$23.98)

MANITOBACAD$21.60 (up from CAD$21.00)

NEW BRUNSWICKCAD$20.12 (up from CAD$20.00)



NOVA SCOTIACAD$20.00 (up from CAD$20.00)

NUNAVUTCAD$32.00 (up from CAD$30.00)

ONTARIOCAD$24.04 (up from CAD$23.08)

PRINCE EDWARD ISLANDCAD$20.00 (up from CAD$19.49)

QUEBECCAD$23.08 (up from CAD$22.00)

SASKATCHEWANCAD$24.55 (up from CAD$24.52)

YUKONCAD$30.00 (up from CAD$30.00)

Employment Social Development Canada (ESDC) will apply the following changes to all pending and future LMIA applications:

  • Canadian employers are not required to submit minor administrative changes to the LMIA.
  • LMIA recruitment requirements in agriculture and agri-food sectors are waived until October 31, 2020.
  • LMIAs for positions in agriculture and agri-food sectors will be prioritized by ESDC.
  • LMIAs will allow Canadian employers to hire low-wage foreign workers for periods of up to two years (from a previous maximum of one year).
  • Canadian employers can submit a previously valid Housing Inspection Report when applying for an LMIA under the Agricultural or Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.
  • Canadian employers changing names of foreign workers due to COVID-19 related reasons will be prioritized by ESDC.

The Government of Canada has provided funding to help Canadian employers with the costs associated with the mandatory 14 day self-quarantine for newly arrived foreign workers.

Foreign workers, including OFWs from the Philippines, will be allowed to enter by Canada Border Services Agency officers, as long as they can demonstrate that their work will be in a job that is essential and supports critical infrastructure and that their job needs them to be physically present in Canada.

Foreign workers must also present proof that they have an adequate quarantine plan.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

The Government of Canada agency responsible for immigration policies is called Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

IRCC used to be calledCitizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). It was renamed IRCC in 2015 to reflect the new government’s focus under Prime Minister Justin Trudeauto better facilitate Canada’s humanitarian efforts.

IRCC & CIC refers to the same agency, while the official IRCC website still uses the old CIC URL (www.cic.gc.ca).

IRCC oversees the arrival of immigrants from all over the world, processes applications from refugee claimants, and works with not-for-profit organizations to provide settlement programs to help newcomers become active and engaged members in their communities.

IRCC also processes applications for citizenship, issues passports to Canadian citizens, and provides funding for programs that promote multiculturalism.
IRCC is also overseeing programs that allow foreign workers to come to Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows authorized Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill positions where Canadian permanent residents nor citizens are available.

Unlike many other countries, Canadian employers need to first ask the Government of Canada for permission to hire foreign workers. Most Canadian employers need to secure a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

The Caregiver Program is a stream (think of it like a sub-category) of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Most Canadian employers will first need to secure an LMIA from ESDC before they can hire a foreign worker under the
Caregiver Program.

Caregiver Program

The Caregiver Program has undergone many iterations over the past years. The current program allows Canadian employers to hire qualified foreign nationals to come to Canada to care for children, elderly or family members with special needs.

The program requires that the foreign worker must 1) meet the minimum requirements of the Caregiver Program, 2) be employed in the household of the Canadian employer who was issued the LMIA and 3) work a minimum of 30 hours a week.

The foreign worker does not have to live at the Canadian employer’s home unless they agree to do so.

Steps a Canadian Employer must take to hire a foreign worker under the Caregiver Program

This is probably the most difficult concept for most foreign workers (especially those from the Philippines) to wrap their heads around. Unlike other places in the world, Canadian employers must first demonstrate that they have a need and are qualified to hire a foreign worker.

1) Recruitment and advertisement – Canadian employers must advertise advertise the Caregiver position on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank for a minimum of four consecutive weeks, at least three months prior to submitting the application for the LMIA.

2) Apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) – if they Canadian employer is unable to fill the position after advertising on the Job Bank, the Canadian employer can now submit an application for a LMIA.

Effective December 8, 2017, Canadian employers hiring Caregivers are exempt from paying the LMIA application processing fee.

Steps a foreign worker must take to apply for a work permit under the Caregiver Program

1) Connect with a prospective Canadian employer – before anything else you have to find prospective employers. If you are looking for opportunities under the Caregiver Program, it might be best to use your own personal network first. Reach out to friends and relatives first, and express your interest in going to Canada as a Caregiver.

Given the intimate nature of working as a Caregiver, this is probably the most sensible way to go.

If you do not have any friends or relatives in Canada, you have two options: contacting Canadian employers directly through the Job Bank or using a POEA-licensed agency.

Once you’ve connected with the prospective Canadian employer and have gotten to know each other well enough to decide if you are a good fit for each other, then the Canadian employer can apply for an LMIA. Remember, the LMIA is a document from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that gives the Canadian employer permission to hire a Foreign worker. Without an LMIA, you won’t be able to submit an application for a work permit.

Take note that finding a prospective Canadian employer will take some time, no matter which approach you take.

2) Apply for a Temporary Resident Visa in the Philippines – once you’ve found a prospective Canadian employer who has done their part in getting authorization to hire you, you can now apply for a work permit as a Temporary Worker at the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines.

Applications for work permits are handled by Canada Visa Application Centres (CVACs), in the Philippines the designated CVAC is VFS Global.

You can only apply for a work permit once you have a written job offer or employment contract and a copy of the LMIA issued to your prospective Canadian employer.

You can apply either online or by submitting a paper application. Gather your documents, complete the requirements as outlined in the application package, pay the application fees and submit the application.

When complete, the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines will issue you a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). This travel document will be affixed to your Philippine Passport and will be inspected by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) representatives upon your arrival to Canada.

Your work permit will be issued by the CBSA office once they have determined that you are admissible.

Preparing to leave the Philippines to work in Canada

The Government of the Philippines requires that Canadian employers and their Filipino workers both submit requirements to different agencies before being given clearance to leave the Philippines.

Do NOT make any travel arrangements before completing the steps below:
UPDATE: as of October 2017, Canadian employers from the Philippines must partner with both a Canadian (Foreign Recruitment Agency FRA) and a Philippine Recruitment Agency (PRA) prior to submitting documentation to the POLO which has jurisdiction over the province of employment.

These are the documents that your Canadian employer will need to submit to POLO before you make travel arrangements (check with POLO for additional documents that may be required):

Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
Employment Contract
Addendum to the Employment Contract
Affidavit of Undertaking
Worker’s Philippine Passport
Worker’s Temporary Resident Visa
License of the Third Party Representative Foreign Recruitment Agency (FRA) and Philippine Recruitment Agency (PRA)
Government-issued photo ID of the Canadian employer, FRA and PRA
Board or Company Resolution
Manpower Request or Job Order
Recruitment Agreement or Service Agreement
Employer’s Profile

1) Submit all the documents to the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO)that has jurisdiction over your province of employment – your Canadian employer must submit these documentsfor authentication (also known as Red Ribbon). POLO staff will look over the documentation to see that it meets the minimum employment standards of your province of employment. After these documents are authenticated by POLO, these documents are sent to the Filipino worker for submission to POEA.

2) Submit authenticated documents to the POEA – once you have received the authenticated documents from your Canadian employer, head on over to the POEA to secure your Exit Clearance. You may be required to submit additional documents and attend the mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS).

3) Make your travel arrangements – once you have secured your Temporary Resident Visa and the necessary Exit Clearance from POEA, you may now make arrangements to join your Canadian employer in Canada.

Important Contact Information

Job Bank www.jobbank.gc.ca

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)www.cic.gc.ca
Embassy of Canada in the Philippines
Level 6-8, RCBC Plaza Tower 2
6819 Ayala Ave, Makati
Metro Manila, Philippines 1227
(632) 857-9000

VFS Services Phils. Pvt. Inc. – Canada Visa Application Centre
Mezzanine Floor Ecoplaza Bldg.
Chino Roces Ave Ext.
Makati City, Philippines 1231

9F Keppel Center Unit 905 Samar Loop cor Cardinal Rosales Ave,
Cebu Business Park
Cebu City Philippines 6000
(632) 789-4900

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
Blas F. Ople Building
Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA
Mandaluyong City, Philippines
(632) 722-1144
(632) 722-1155

Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) Toronto
160 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario M4P 3B5
(416) 975-8252

Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) VancouverWorld Trade Centre Office Complex999 Canada Place, Suite 611Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1
(604) 641-1234www.vancouverpcg.org

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