It is important for all parties involved in the employment of Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada, including both employers and potential employees, to understand what options are available for acquiring a Canadian Work Permit.
Provincial programs are currently the most popular means through which the process for bringing Temporary Foreign Workers to the country can be expedited. Such programs have been created to satisfy the specific needs of the provinces that offer them.
An example of a provincial program in Canada is Alberta’s Occupation-Specific Pilot Program, a popular immigration class that aims to to bring in more in-demand workers into the province, or workers who have the specific skills that meet provincial industry needs.
The Alberta Pilot Program Defined
A short-lived program by which skilled individuals in specific fields can be given priority as immigration applicants is called the Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot Program. Its effectivity runs until July 31, 2013 and is intended to accommodate specific tradespersons such as steamfitters /pipefitters, carpenters, ironworkers, estimators, mechanics of heavy-duty equipment, millwright and industrial mechanics and welders.
A major requirement for applying to this program is an offer of employment from a Canadian individual or company, and a letter from the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. Individuals who are already working in Canada may also apply to the program, but without needing a job offer provided they are working in a qualified trade and are fully certified by the AAIT.
Successful applicants who acquire full trade certification will be granted an Open Work Permit good for two years. A Regular Work Permit is usually tied to a specific employer, and any worker who wants to shift to another employer needs to secure new Work Permit.
An Open Work Permit, on the other hand, gives a worker freedom to shift from one employer to another without other documentation requirements. Also, an employer who hires a worker with an Open Work Permit need not acquire an LMO or Labour Market Opinion, which is a document required for Canadian employers to be able to legally hire workers from abroad.
Aside from having the right employment background or experience, applicants also need certification by the AAIT, or any other trade certification body that Alberta recognizes for specific occupations. Non-AAIT-certified workers can apply for a Regular Work Permit and begin working for an employer while processing their certification. Once AAIT-certified, they may apply for the two-year Open Work Permit.
Pilot Program for Employees, Employers and the Canadian Economy
Foreign workers and employers are not the only ones who stand to benefit from Alberta’s Occupation-Specific Pilot Program. In fact, it is also expected to affect the entire Canadian economy in positive ways.
The province of Alberta is presently experiencing exponential growth that no other province in Canada has had a taste of. However, to keep this growth going, there is a huge need for workers to fill key positions in the province’ key industries. Among these open positions can be filled by skilled tradespersons whom the Pilot Program is designed to target.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney himself says Alberta is now faced with some of the greatest labour shortages all across Canada, and the program is designed to address this very problem. It will assist Alberta’s employers in hiring the right foreigners to temporarily meet skilled labor needs which the local population cannot.
With an Open Work Permit, a foreign worker is able to save on time and resources when working for one employer after another, in the same way that employers are able to go through the process of hiring foreign labor without going through many steps, such as obtaining a Labor Market Opinion.
Foreign workers in Canada are currently occupying jobs that are meant for temporary employment. However, when they have to secure new contracts with each employer who hires them, the overall productivity of hiring much-needed workers is reduced. With workers who have more room to go from one employer to the next, this program benefits everyone.