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LMIA: Transition Plan for High Wage TFWs

What is the Transition Plan?

The Transition Plan requirement is a key piece of your LMIA application for High-Wage Temporary Foreign Workers (“TFWs”).[1] This part of the application is where you delineate your various commitments to reduce reliance on TFWs and transition into a Canadian workforce during the validity of your requested work permit.

The Transition Plan requirement asks the employer to provide either:

  • three (3) distinct activities to recruit, retain, or train Canadians and/or Permanent Residents AND one (1) additional activity specifically targeting underrepresented groups such as new immigrants, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, etc.,;

OR

  • one (1) activity to facilitate your Temporary Foreign Worker(s)’ permanent residence.[2]

The Transition Plan tables are found within the LMIA application form. You will find that the relevant sections specifically state that these commitments are agreements between the employer and Service Canada. It is therefore paramount that, once your LMIA is issued, you keep track of these commitments and make reasonable efforts to honour these during the validity of your LMIA. Work on your transition plan must begin as soon as you receive a positive LMIA decision and it must continue throughout the course of your TFW’s employment.

Filling out the Transition Plan Tables

Detail is key in submitting a solid Transition Plan. Your commitments must be clear, relevant, and measurable. It is important to provide the following for each activity:

  1. A description of the planned activity, and the rationale behind undertaking such an activity;
  2. The anticipated results of the planned activity;
  3. A general timeline for the activities; and
  4. The level of investment you are willing to undertake in order to carry out said activity, if applicable.

In terms of selecting the activities to undertake, a good starting point would be to review the knowledge you have gathered during the time you were actively reviewing and interviewing Canadian applicants. In an effort to generate ideas, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you identified any gaps in the Canadian labour force in the course of your recruitment efforts? Did you find that certain key skills were missing in the candidates you had considered? Is there a way that you can address this gap? Can you leverage the time that your TFW is employed at your organization to help you re-train some of your current Canadian staff?
  • Were there particular channels for recruitment that you found were quite effective in terms of identifying attractive candidates? Did you find certain post-secondary programs appealing in terms of their ability to prepare students and/or apprentices for the role you are currently applying for? Would you be interested in partnering with such organizations?
  • What sort of feedback did you receive from qualified interviewees? Are there ways you can modify the role to address any concerns? Would you be willing to increase wages, offer flexible hours, provide benefits, or help Canadians relocate to your job location?

Your answers to these questions can help you identify activities that will better position you to recruit, hire, and retain Canadian workers moving forward. For example, if you found that the Canadian workforce at large lacked certain skills you required, you could consider providing on-the-job training or paid-leave for education incentives to your current employees. If you were able to identify promising channels of recruitment, establishing partnerships with certain organizations might be an attractive option for you. This could include seeking interns at universities or colleges, hiring headhunting firms to identify candidates, participating at job fairs and certain government programs, or consulting with unions and industry associations to identify potential candidates. Consideration of any constructive feedback you received from attractive candidates regarding the position can also help you modify certain aspects of the role—such as compensation, hours, etc.—in order to make the position more attractive to Canadian workers moving forward.

These activities can also be adapted to target underrepresented groups in particular—perhaps you could consider forming partnerships with organizations that have relationships within certain communities, facilitating internships and mentorship programs for workers who might fall within this category, or implementing a modified advertising plan.

It is also important to note that any subsequent LMIA application may be negatively affected should you choose only to support the permanent residency of a TFW and later decide to no longer proceed with this commitment. Moreover, if your application pertains to multiple positions and not all of the TFWs are interested in becoming a Canadian permanent resident, you are required to conduct other training and/or recruitment activities that will help you transition into a Canadian workforce.

As such, although the minimum requirements provide you with various alternatives, Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) encourages you to include a variety of activities within your Transition Plan.

Exemptions

While ESDC emphasizes the importance of preparing a well thought-out Transition Plan, it is possible you will not have to meet this requirement if you are applying for positions:

  • related to caregiving (for private households and health care institutions);
  • related to farming (under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, the Agricultural Stream, and other primary agriculture occupations—these can include farm managers and supervisors, livestock workers, nursery and greenhouse workers, harvesting labourers, and general farm workers);
  • that are specialized and qualify for Quebec’s facilitated LMIA process;
  • involving unique skills or traits that belong to a specific individual and are not readily available in Canada; or
  • are of a limited duration, where:
    • the job is inherently time-limited,
    • there is no reasonable expectation that the position could be transitioned and filled with a Canadian or permanent resident, or
    • the job will no longer exist after the TFW’s departure. [3]

Note: There are cases wherein the repeated use of a specific position is normal for an industry, but each employment duration remains time-limited. Areas where this may apply include the Film and Entertainment industries.

Compliance

It is always important to keep in mind that the contents of your Transition Plan are commitments that you have stated you are willing to make to Service Canada. ESDC may conduct an inspection to verify your compliance with the conditions set out in your positive LMIA decision at any time during the course of your LMIA’s validity. This includes a review of your Transition Plan.

You must therefore be able to provide proof that you have conducted the activities identified in your Plan and that these efforts were made in accordance with your commitments. Depending on your selected activities, such proof may include proof of advertising; invoices for job fair booths, incentive programs, and financial support provided to TFWs; support letters from organizations you have committed to partnering with; offer letters or payroll information for internships; and immigration applications demonstrating your support for the TFW’s application for permanent residency.

Employers with multiple TFWs at any given time should be sure to track their various commitments and ensure that they are in compliance with each Plan in place.

Further, if you wish to make a change to your Plan after the LMIA is issued, it is crucial that you contact Service Canada to request your change and submit a revised Transition Plan that incorporates agreed-upon changes. ESDC will only hold you accountable for the Transition Plan that they have on file.

Conclusion

Transition Plans are statements of commitment made by employers to Service Canada. Good Transition Plans make clear, relevant, and measurable commitments to participate in activities that will help employers transition into a Canadian workforce during the validity of your LMIA.  It is also important that, in choosing to make these commitments, employers evaluate their ability to meet these obligations as they remain in effect throughout the course of the TFW’s employment and will affect subsequent LMIA applications.

 

[1] Economic and Social Development Canada, “Program Requirements for High-Wage Positions” (06 April 2020), Government of Canada, online: .

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

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