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Mary Keyork
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How can I hire foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program?

We are a mid-sized company in Markham, Ontario that wishes to hire several foreign workers to join our team. We are extremely confused by the requirements, and would like to clarify the following:

1. Do we need to advertise the positions and show that no Canadian can do the job? and

2. Do we need to pay foreign workers a specific wage?

Employers that wish to hire foreign workers must demonstrate that there are no Canadians or permanent residents who could do the job, as it is the government’s policy to ensure that all Canadian residents can find employment. To demonstrate that there is no one available to do the job, employers must show that they have made sufficient recruitment efforts in Canada.

However, the minimum requirements to demonstrate these efforts depends on the type of employment being offered. For workers in management and professional occupations, the employer must only show efforts that are consistent with the industry. For workers in trades and technical positions, the employer must also demonstrate advertising on the National Job Bank. For some types of employees, such as post-graduate work permit holders and software engineers, no advertising is required.

Employers must learn the detailed requirements for each position they hope to employ a foreign worker in. Foreign workers must be paid the same amount as Canadians. However, it is sometimes difficult to know what that amount is. Before May 2012, employers were required to pay the “median wage” for workers in the same occupation in their geographic location.

However, now they are allowed to pay up to 15% less than the median income, depending on the job offered, and providing they can prove that this is the wage paid to other employees. This is because many employers complained that HRSDC required them to pay foreign workers more than their local staff. In any case, it would be wise to seek to advise of experienced counsel to determine the requirements in each case.