Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney announced on the 24th of April that a moratorium will be placed on the participation of the Food Services Sector in the Labor Market Opinion (LMO) program. This means that employers in the Food Services Sector can no longer apply for LMO, and all LMOs given to employers from the said sector are suspended.
Who are Affected by the Moratorium?
All businesses that the 2002 North American Industrial Classification System classified as ‘Food Services and Drinking Places’ will be subject to the moratorium.
Included: Businesses that operate primarily on the preparation of meals and beverages that are to be consumed immediately, whether on or off the premises. Also included are leased food-service locations in establishments such as shopping malls and airports.
* Full-service restaurants
* Food service contractors (i.e. those that run concessions in places such as sports venues)
* Limited-service eating places
* Mobile food services
* Drinking places
Not included: Food services within such establishments as theaters, hotels, amusement parks, and civic and social associations (except if leased food service locations).
* Direct selling organizations (non-prepared food items)
* Groups that prepare food for the homeless
* Vending machine operators
* Dinner theaters
Which Occupations are Included?
This list is according to the occupations included in the Food Services Sector as per the 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Food Services Supervisors
Restaurant and Food Services Managers
Food and Beverage Servers
Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Occupations
Butchers, Meat Cutters and Fishmongers – Retail and Wholesale
Grocery Clerks and Store Shelf Stockers
Other Elemental Sales Occupations
Dry Cleaning and Laundry Supervisors
Other Service Supervisors
Maitres d’hotel and Hosts/Hostesses
Other Personal Service Occupations
Light Duty Cleaners
Janitors, Caretakers and Building Superintendents
Dry Cleaning and Laundry Occupations
Ironing, Pressing and Finishing Occupations
Other Elemental Service Occupations
Retail Trade Supervisors
Technical Sales Specialists – Wholesale Trade
Sales Representatives – Wholesale Trade – Non-Technical
Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks
Security Guards and Related Occupations
Sales, Marketing and Advertising Managers
Retail Trade Managers
Accommodation Services Manager
Other Services Managers
Impacts of the Moratorium
Both employers and workers in the Food Services Sector will feel the impact of the moratorium. Employers in the said sector can no longer apply for Labour Market Opinion, and those who have applied and are under processing will no longer be processed—the fees that they paid will be refunded. In the same manner, processing of work permit applications will be suspended. It is not clear, however, if there will be refund for processing fees in this case.
Aside from this, employees under the LMO program can no longer get extension on their work permit. The same is true for international graduates working under a Post Graduate Work Permit—there will be no extension after the expiry of their permit.
Are There Other Available Options?
Yes, there are. Employers in the Food Services Sector can still seek employees in occupations not covered by the moratorium. There are also other programs available such as: the Canadian Experience Class (with some exceptions), the Provincial Nominee Programs of various Canadian provinces, the Intra-Company Transferee Program and the Reciprocal Work Permit Program.