On December 31, 2013, several changes were made to the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) system in Canada to increase security and safety for foreign workers. Check to see if the recent changes affect you or your employer. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is the new government agency that issues LMO’s in Canada.
- ESDC may no longer give LMOs to employers who offer strip teases, erotic dances, erotic massage, or escort services.
- ESDC and Service Canada are allowed to inspect places of employment to ensure that employers are conforming with Canadian work permit regulations for 6 years after a foreign worker starts working.
- ESDC may now suspend or revoke LMOs, or refuse to process LMO applications if they have any public policy concerns
- Employers are required to complete an updated LMO application form after Dec 31, 2013.
As well, the new forms have additional conditions for employers to follow:
- Employers must keep any documentation about compliance with working conditions for 6 years. (This has increased from 2 years in the older system.) They must also be able to show that the information on the LMO is accurate for 6 years.
- Employers must make a reasonable effort to ensure the workplace is free from employee abuse.
- Employers must hire or train Canadian workers if possible, or they must make greater efforts to hire and train Canadian workers if the employer’s lack of effort is the reason that work permits were issued.
These new rules tighten up the process for employers as Service Canada and ESDC want to make sure that the employer/employee relationship is beneficial for both people. Also, the Government of Canada has committed to ensuring that foreign workers are safe while working in Canada and these changes are consistent with that direction.
These changes to LMO rules may affect a number of temporary foreign workers. TFW has been an area of significant growth in the past few years. Here is a graph of the number of temporary foreign worker positions on positive labour market opinions in both Canada and Alberta based on statistics from ESDC.