April 24, 2014 — Ottawa, Ontario — Employment and Social Development Canada
Our Government has been clear: Canadians must have the first chance at available jobs. We have repeatedly warned employers that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program must only be used as a last and limited resort when Canadians are not available.
In recent weeks, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has been made aware of some serious allegations of abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. In response, I directed officials to investigate these matters urgently to determine the facts, Labour Market Opinions were suspended, and employers in question were placed on a public blacklist.
Despite these actions, there remain serious concerns regarding the use of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in the Food Services Sector.
As a result, I am announcing an immediate moratorium on the Food Services Sector’s access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Accordingly, ESDC will not process any new or pending LMO applications related to the Food Services Sector. In addition, any unfilled positions tied to a previously approved LMO will be suspended. This moratorium will remain in effect until the completion of the on-going review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will not be tolerated. Allegations of misuse will continue to be investigated and any employer found to have violated the rules will face serious consequences. Those employers who are found to have lied about their efforts to hire Canadians could face potential criminal prosecution with sanctions that include fines and jail time.
Our government will continue to pursue significant reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure that employers make greater efforts to recruit and train Canadians and that it is only used as a last and limited resort when Canadians are not available.