Canadian Employers: New Fees and Compliance System – TFWs







Beginning FEBRUARY 21, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) will require that employers hiring temporary foreign workers (“TFWs”) that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) process to pay a new fee to CIC.

The new fee for each work permit will be CAD $230 (payable on-line by employers). Employers will have to supply new and additional information about their business and an additional form, even when TFWs are applying at a Canadian port of entry.

With this new system in motion, any foreign national exempt from a LMIA will only be able to get a Canadian employer-specific work permit if their Canadian employer has submitted the desired data, and paid the applicable fee before their work permit application is submitted, or created at a port of entry.

By implementing this fee, CIC hopes to be able to cover the cost of their new employer compliance system, which will precipitate inspections of Canadian employers that use TFWs. Non-compliance might mean administrative financial penalties, a ban from using TFWs, or possibly criminal investigation and prosecution, in the most serious cases of abuse by employers.

Open Work Permit Holders

While the CAD $230 fee is not applicable to this group of permit holders, a new fee of CAD $100 will be collected from open work permit applicants commencing February 21, 2015 (paid on-line at the time of application).

CIC is implementing this new fee to generate revenue for improved data collection and coverage on the role of open work permit holders within the Canadian labour market.

Fee Refunds

CIC will refund any of these new fees if the application submitted is later refused, or where the employer withdraws a job offer before the work permit is issued.



Supporting Article Research Sources: Dale Lessmann LLP, Mondaq

Citizenship Fees Received another Boost on January 1, 2015

Those that choose to become Canadian citizens this year will have to pay more…why?

Well, for the second time in a year, the Conservative government has hiked the fee it charges to make someone a Canadian citizen.

The new fee for processing citizenship documents has been set at $530 as of January 1, 2015, up from the former new fee set back in February 2013 of $300.

The government has been anxious to increase our citizenship fees for some time, arguing that would-be citizens should be covering more of the associated costs with processing their applications.

In an analysis of the new fees, the Citizenship and Immigration Department says the higher fee will allow the government to recoup a majority of the $555 in costs.

The bottom line; the government estimates a total savings of $41 million it will not have to expend.

“While the analysis assumes that there will not be a significant reduction in overall demand for citizenship as a result of this fee increase, it is acknowledged that some people may have to delay their application to give them more time to save for the new fee,” the analysis says.

When citizenship-processing fees were first increased from $100 to $300 in February 2013, it was actually the first time an increase had been implemented since 1995.

The new fee structure is in addition to the $100 right-of-citizenship fee, which is recoverable if a citizenship application is not accepted.

The good news here is that anyone who applied for citizenship before January 1 2015 will pay the old fee.

The opposition felt that it was unfair to hike fees when people were waiting years to receive their citizenship, as the close of 2013 represented a backlog of close to 400,000 cases. Nonetheless, along with the new fees comes a promise by the government that they are making headway on cutting through this overwhelming pile of documents.

The Citizenship and Immigration Department also indicated that wait times for new citizens would be under one-year at some point within the next fiscal year.

NB: New fees to be paid by employers and open work permit applicants were also introduced on February 21, 2015. (See


Supporting Article Research Sources: Citizen and Immigration Dept –, The Province –

Ontario Employers: Prepare for Changes with ‘Bill 18’

LegislativeAssemblyOntario Bill 18


Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014 has received Royal Assent, and will amend five different labour and employment-related statutes in Ontario, which includes the Employment Standards Act, 2000

Just this month, on November 20, 2014 to be precise, Bill 18 (the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014) received Royal Assent.

Ontario employers will now find that they now face new labour and employment obligations, in concert with a number of immediate compliance obligations.


While Bill 18 will make selective changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 periodically, the most significant and imminent changes to the Act are as follows:

  • Elimination of $10,000 “Cap” and NEW 2-Year Complaint Period. At this time, an employment standards officer can issue an order for employers to pay employees unpaid wages, up to the cap of $10,000. However, Bill 18 removes this cap generally, on a going-forward basis (with transitional rules). As well, the current 6-month limitation period for bringing forward complaints to the Ministry of Labour for non-payment of wages are extended to 2 years, on a going-forward basis (with transitional rules). These changes come into effect in ‘3 months’ – February 20, 2015.
  • New Obligations for ‘Assignment’ (Temp) Employees. Currently, employers can benefit from the help of employees working for temporary help agencies (called assignment or Temp employees) while not assuming statutory liability for unpaid wages. Bill 18 will change this situation. If the agency fails to pay a Temp employee for some or all wages, the temporary help agencies’ (respective employer) clients are jointly and severally liable for the unpaid wages (i.e. regular wages, overtime pay, public holiday pay, and premium pay) of such Temp employees for the relevant pay period.
  • There will also be new record keeping requirements related to Temp employees, together with a requirement for clients of temporary help agencies to keep a record of the number of hours worked by each Temp employee in each day and each week, and to keep such records for 3 years. These changes come into effect in ’12 months’ – November 20, 2015.
  • Compelling Mandatory Self-Audits. Bill 18 will give an employment standards officer the power to require an employer to conduct an examination/ self-audit of an employer’s records, practices, or both, to determine if indeed the employer complies with the Employment Standards Act, 2000, or its regulations. These employers will be required to conduct the self-audit and report the results to the employment standards officer. These changes come into effect in‘6 months’ – May 2015.
  • Provision of Informational Poster. Employers will be required to give each employee a copy of the most recent informational poster published by the Minister of Labour, and Ministry-prepared translations of such posters (if any), if requested by the employee. These changes come into effect in‘6 months – May 2015.

The minimum wage will also be adjusted in accordance with an equation that ties into the consumer price index. The Minister of Labour will publish the minimum wages by April 1 of each year after 2014, which will become the effective wage on October 1 of that year.

IMPORTANT! Please note that Other Notable Changes for Employers are freely accessible on the Borden Ladner Gervais website. You may also want to visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website for more in-depth details on this Bill.


Article Research Resources: Bordner Ladner Gervais, Mondaq

Canada: Internal Government Directives: Impacts on Work Permit Applications









In addition to the myriad of constant changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) made available to the public, there is a significant quantity of unpublished information ‘below the surface’.

Failure to be aware of what Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) did not tell you might result in devastating effects within the course of seeking to hire a foreign worker. (ESDC administers the TFWP in concert with Immigration Canada).

Before hiring a foreign worker (with few exceptions), an employer must get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to substantiate why a Canadian is not being hired. The program is run by ESDC; however, it is operated by Service Canada.

An LMIA application can only be submitted once the four-week recruitment period concludes. Ads for LMIA purposes must post wages. The internal directives indicate that the wages can be posted as a range, however, the low-end of the range must meet the prevailing wage, that would ordinarily be the minimum earnings potential for the position in that location.

ESDC dictates that recruitment for LMIA applications has to be carried out on the applicable national or provincial job bank, plus two additional methods. Examples of the two additional methods are given, such as general employment web sites, specialized web sites that are industry specific, social media web sites, etc.

The employer must post all mandatory information directly within the advertisement. A link to the information is not considered acceptable.

The requirement to focus on underrepresented groups may be satisfied through web sites like Kijiji; however, the ads should be specific that underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

There may be occasional leniency in permitting an employer not to disclose certain information in an ad (e.g. salary, company name). This could occur, for instance, in high-profile occupations (e.g. senior executive), or for competitive reasons. ESDC (via Service Canada) may allow this, if the employer can demonstrate that the advertised position ought to be exempt from including any of the listed mandatory job advertisement information. However, an employer seeking a LMIA will not know if this position has been accepted until the application is adjudicated.

Specific geographic regions should have leniency in waiving recruitment requirements, however, this is not absolutely articulated. Consideration may be given to waive the recruitment requirements when the following are present: (a) high salary (e.g. $200,000/year), (2) very high skilled (e.g. NOC 00), (3) specialized nature of the position (e.g. international knowledge); and (4) recruitment efforts would not likely result in finding the expertise being sought after. Once again, the employer will not know if the position in the LMIA application is accepted until the application is adjudicated.

As well, the advertisements must state the employer’s name and for job advertisements, wherever a CRA business number is required, with the employer’s business number.

‘Spin Off’ advertisement does not constitute a proper method of recruitment. That is, the employer must post the ad, and cannot have confidence in a web site, which has automatically uploaded information from the original posting. As such, if an ad appears on Monster because Monster automatically reposted it from an industry-specific web site, the Monster ad does not count. (The Monster ad would count if the employer itself posted the ad on Monster).

Employers must make sure that they are always up-to-date in their knowledge base vis-à-vis the TFWP.


Article Research Resources: Kranc Associates Immigration Lawyers;, and Mondaq;

Risky Business: Smartphone’s’ Vulnerable To Voice Deception









As we know, there are increasing numbers of Smartphone users talking into their phones to draft and send email and text messages, ask for directions, conduct research, and generally search the internet.

Apple has Siri, Google has Google Now as well as apps like utter! – an offline voice controlled Personal Assistant. All of these providers have promised to introduce voice command functionality to sites such as Facebook.

Are Your Firm’ Smartphone’ Open to Risks?

According to the BBC and SecurityReview , recent reports suggest that voice-activated Smartphones and other devices can pose a significant security risk. To make this point, an expert at a security firm found that some voice-activated systems responded just as well to fake voices as they did to the voice of their owner.

The expert was able to use a synthesized voice to turn on and control a smart TV, however, much more significantly for employers, voice-activated functions on Apple and Android Smartphones were vulnerable to deception using a synthesized voice.

Employer’s will be interested in knowing that this expert was also able to send a fake message using an Android Smartphone, telling everyone in the device’s contacts list that a particular company was going out of business.

Apparently, the fact is that these devices do not ask for authentication of the voice giving the commands, which should send up red flags right off the bat.

Employer’ Bottom Line

Until such time that voice activation technology requires ‘specific authentication’ of the source of the voice, companies would be wise to think long and hard about whether they allow their employees to password or send data using voice-activation technology.


Article Research Resources: BBC, SecurityReview, Mondaq, Fox Rothschild LLP


Plan, Do, Check, Act: Problem Solving and Employee Engagement







All organizations face a myriad of challenges, particularly larger firms. Whether or not they are big issues like illusive revenue targets, or efficiency-specific problems such as rework, following the ‘Plan Do Check Act’ system will help businesses implement effective solutions. The key activities of the four stages of this straightforward system are outlined below.


In this stage, the source of the problem is identified, and a solution is crafted. Conducting an intensive root cause analysis is critical to any problem-solving initiative; allowing you to style a solution that may fix the issue, not merely cover it up.

Many tools can be used to conduct a root cause analysis. Two common tools that come to mind are fishbone diagrams (cause and effect) and the ‘5 whys’ (asking “why?” repeatedly until the cause is identified).

Once the root cause of the problem is known and understood, choose and design the solution that will best address it. Anticipate the impact following implementation, and collect baseline information.


In the Do stage, the decided solution is implemented. To prepare for the implementation, create action and communication plans, and conduct a stakeholder analysis. Once these elaborated plans are in place, the amendment will be enforced among the work area.


In the Check stage, the results are reviewed to see if the problem has been resolved, and to quantify the benefits and advantages. Speak with the people who were directly involved in the change to get their feedback. Capture this new information, and compare it with the initial information to measure your gains.


In the Act stage, the amendment is incorporated into standard work, or further enhancements are made. If moving forward with the final amendments, change any process documents accordingly, and communicate the permanent changes to all stakeholders. If more improvements are required, apply the Plan Do Check Act system once more, until the changes can be incorporated into commonplace work practices.

While the above stages offer guidance on what activities need to take place, of equal importance is how these steps are carried out, and applied.

The most successful problem-solving initiatives actively engage employees at all levels throughout this process. Employees on the front lines, who do the work daily, have the foremost comprehensive understanding of where the problem areas are.

These employees know what solutions are going to be most effective, and what communication and coaching needs exist. By placing value on their input, and basing solutions on their hands-on knowledge and ideas, organizations will carry out effective solutions for the longer term.

The Plan Do Check Act system is an effective problem-solving technique that sets the foundation for a culture of continuous improvement. Momentum will increase as employees learn to apply the new tools within their own work areas—which of course is the ultimate goal for any organization seeking efficiencies through employee engagement.


Article Research Resources: Mondaq, MNP LLP

Canada Immigration Proposes More Changes to TFW Program

As you know, an obligatory review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which has come under much scrutiny, has created the many changes already made to this program, as outlined below. It would seem logical then that a total revamp of this program is soon to follow, which could easily include a ‘new label’.



  • Among other measures implemented to date, the test for recruitment requirements were tightened, and the tests altered (from an ‘occupational’ level division, to a ‘wage’ based division);
  • Application fees were raised from $275 to $1000 per position;
  • Caps placed on the number of foreign workers that can be brought to Canada within certain categories;
  • Foreign employers restricted from hiring certain foreign workers in areas where the unemployment rate is 6% or higher; and as you know, the list continues to grow.



Earlier this month, the government announced that it was considering yet further measures. Though still to be finalized, the following are just a few of the upcoming changes that employers can expect to face, if they are intent on hiring and retaining foreign workers:

  • Bans on employers for non-compliance, which is now fixed at 2 years across the board, will now be varied, and will range from 1 year to 10 years.
  • Monetary penalties will now be imposed on violations. The monetary penalties will vary based on various factors, including the nature of the violation, the severity, and the size of the employer. Penalties can range up to $100,000 per occurrence.
  • ANY violation of conditions under the program could lead to a ban or monetary penalty. Beyond items like meeting approved wages and working conditions, these would now include:
  • A determination with regard to the authenticity of the job offer
  • Deficiencies in reporting and document retention, and
  • A determination of non-co-operativeness during inspections.

Among other concerns in this regard, the degree of subjectivity, and therefore, the government’s discretion, in such determinations plays a far greater role, in spite of a proposed review process, which is to be made available in the short term.

  • Corrective action for ‘good faith errors’, previously allowed, may no longer excuse the imposition of one of the permitted sanctions (bans and/or monetary penalties)



Expect these proposals to be implemented shortly. The government is accepting submissions until the deadline of October 16th, after which the proposals will be implemented, with or without, any modification.

Employers who wish to make submissions to the government before the deadline are encouraged to do so. However, employers should study the full gambit of requirements under the proposed scheme, and take action immediately to ensure that they are in current compliance, and have systems in place to ensure ongoing compliance.


Article Research Resources: Mondaq, Kranc Associates, Immigration Lawyers

Alberta Last Province to Increase Minimum Wage

We are now finally able to say that every jurisdiction in Canada has met or surpassed the $10.00 hourly general minimum wage barrier.

2014 will be looked back upon as the year of minimum wage increases across Canada.

In May 2014, the general minimum wage in Ontario increased from $10.25 per hour to $11.00, effective June 1, 2014.

On September 1, 2014, Alberta also raised its general minimum wage from $9.95 per hour to $10.20 per hour.

In the meantime, seven other provinces and territories have either already increased, or will be increasing their general minimum wage rates.

Following are the old and new rates, with effective dates:

Jurisdiction OLD rate NEW rate Effective date  
Alberta $9.95 $10.20 September 1 2014
Manitoba $10.45 $10.70 October 1 2014  
NFLD $10.00 $10.25 October 1 2014 $10.50 Oct 2015
Nova Scotia $10.30 $10.40 April 1 2014  
Ontario $10.25 $11.00 June 1 2014  
PEI $10.20 $10.35 October 1 2014  
Quebec $10.15 $10.35 May 1 2014  
Saskatchewan $10.00 $10.20 October 1 2014  
Yukon $10.54 $10.72 April 1 2014  

AB LAST PROVINCE WAGE INCREASE 2014The three provinces and territories that have yet to show an intention to raise their general minimum wage rate are:

Jurisdiction Rate Effective date
BC $10.25 May 1, 2012
Nunavut $11.00 January 1, 2011
NWT $10.00 April 1, 2011

The newest trend in minimum wage rates is the indexing of those rates to changes in the Consumer Price Index.

At present, Nova Scotia and Yukon each annually adjusts their general minimum wage rate on April 1, to match the increase (if any) in the Consumer Price Index.

Ontario is considering legislation that would put a similar process in place, with indexing projected to begin on October 1, 2015, if passed.


Article Research Resources: Mondaq, Blaney McMurtry LLP, Statistics Canada

Thinking of Quitting Your Job – Understand Your Legal Obligations

Original source:






Much has been written on legal obligations and mistaken beliefs when it involves employees being let go. However, while rarely mentioned, there is an equal quantity of law affecting an employee’s decision to quit, whether it is because of reading the writing on the wall, or simply because they received a better job offer.

Quitting before the guillotine comes down

Some employees resign to avoid the anticipated humiliation of an, inevitable discharge. However, doing so is a double-edged sword, in the sense that (a) this disqualifies them from receiving EI benefits, as well as (b) depriving them of their rightful severance claim.

As for that stigma of being laid-off or terminated, most Canadian employees have already been reorganized, downsized, or otherwise let go at some point in their careers. Those who have not had this unsettling experience will get their chance eventually.

Resign or be dismissed

If an employee resigns in response to this ‘Hobson’s choice’ state of affairs, they have not resigned lawfully. The reality is that they did not voluntarily leave their employer. In this case, they have been wrongfully dismissed, and have the accordant rights.

Resigning because of changes to terms of employment

If an employee is faced with a harmful fundamental breach to their terms of employment, that either reduces their pay, or leaves them feeling embarrassed, they have the legal right to resign and sue, just as if they had been fired. As noted above, if they are wrong, they risk an action for wrongful resignation.

Resignation Withdrawal

Occasionally, employees resign in the ‘heat of the moment’. Thankfully, the courts do not hold them to their word, and allow them to return to work. In this scenario, prudent employers will not accept the resignation – either verbally or formally.

Employees have a ‘cooling off’ grace period of a couple of days during which to withdraw their resignation. If the employer insists the employee has indeed resigned, and refuses to allow them to return to work, the resignation simply transforms into a case for wrongful dismissal.

Wrongful Resignation

Employees resigning with the proverbial ‘two weeks’ notice’ can be sued. Just as employers must provide employees with advance notice of dismissal or pay in lieu, employees have a reciprocal obligation.

Employees must offer employers sufficient notice of their departure date to allow them time to recruit, train, and hire a comparably skilled replacement. If they do not, they can be sued for whatever damages the employer suffers, i.e., lost productivity, sales, as well as the costs associated with recruitment and replacement.

Although most employers do not bother suing, some will go the distance. As a rule, such cases arise when an employee resigns without notice, and sues for constructive dismissal. In which case, firms will and can, respond with a powerful wrongful resignation counterclaim.


Article Research Resources:,

Disability Claims Management – Should You Contract Out?



Absences; beginning with time off for minor illnesses, to longer-term leaves of absence, costs the Canadian economy an estimated $16.6 billion in 2012, according to a Conference Board of Canada study. Unless organizations begin to take a proactive approach to addressing this problem, this trend could well accelerate as our workforce ages.

Illness connected absences significantly influence an organization’s level of productivity, and consequently ends up as a perceptibly significant expense.

In 2011, the latest year that data is available, Canadians took a median of 9.3 sick days, which cost the economy roughly $16.6 billion.

For that reason, it is important that short and long-term disability claims be managed effectively and with efficiency, with the express goal of returning the employee to work safely, and in the most realistic and timely manner.

Listed below are some benefits for an organization to contract out Disability Claims Management to a highly regarded third-party:


It is important that employees be treated fairly and consistently. Third party claims managers are able to guarantee equitable treatment. In addition, both claimants and the organization have only one point of contact, in order to make sure that the methods used and process remain on course.

Cost Management

Third party claims managers are able to offer flexible, short/long-term plan designs, customized to the requirements of the organization. This ensures that costs are contained and allocated fittingly.


Third party claims managers enjoy the luxury of having internal subject matter experts who are intimate with physical and psychological diagnosis. These individuals are trained in all of the appropriate treatments; time required for rehab, and can more easily manage the entire process, leading up to the return to work phase.

Additionally, third-party claims managers have access to benchmark information from various organizations and industries, permitting them to form appropriate determinations.


It is important and necessary that claims managers stay neutral and impartial. Having a third-party manage the claims process ensures that choices and decisions are made objectively.


Managing the disability and return to work process is a full-time job. Utilizing a third-party to manage the disability claims process permits the organization’ human resources department to focus their energy on proactive and strategic HR processes, which bring value to the organization.

 NB: I am confident that like myself, you will be surprised to learn that, despite the directly related cost of over $16B, less than one-half of Canadian organizations tracked the number of days off, or the cause for such absences. (Conference Board of Canada)


Article Research Resources: Conference Board of Canada, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, CBC News, Mondaq