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Feb 28, 2017

The Next Brain Gain? - Canada’s Global Skills Strategy

Kelly Goldthorpe

By: Kelly Goldthorpe 

We know that when talented researchers, innovators and leaders are able to provide their expertise, even temporarily, their work can have a multiplier effect on job creation. In the global competition for highly skilled people, it is crucial that these types of workers can get here quickly.”

–John McCallum, Former Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

In November 2016, The Minister of Finance announced the Global Skills Strategy aimed at making it easier and faster for Canadian employers to hire skilled foreign workers. The Global Skills Strategy is part of the government’s Innovation Agenda which seeks to drive growth for Canadian companies and position Canada as a global innovation leader. It is based on the belief that talent acquisition drives growth and success.

To expedite the movement of in-demand, skilled workers, IRCC is proposing work permit exemptions for those who come into Canada to perform activities of a short duration (i.e. 30 days or less).  Thus, some workers coming in for a short duration (i.e. 30 days or less) would no longer require a work permit. To further facilitate the application process, they have also proposed a Dedicated Service Channel to help guide employers through what can be a complicated application process.

A major component of the Global Skills Strategy is the Global Talent stream of ESDC’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. This pilot program is expected to launch in the spring of 2017 for a period of 24 months. The Global Talent stream is intended to assist Canadian companies by providing them with access to global talent that is in-demand. This Pilot program will be a component of the current TFWP that is based on a labour market test which assesses the impact of a foreign worker’s entry into the Canadian labour market. It is meant to fill jobs where there are no readily available Canadian workers.

ESDC has announced that it will target two categories of Canadian companies:

  1. High-growth firms that can demonstrate a need for unique talent to scale-up and grow
  2. Firms that require highly-skilled foreign workers for occupations found on a new “skills shortage list”

Under the Global Talent Stream, Canadian employers must demonstrate the benefits of hiring a foreign worker such as the creation of jobs for Canadians, transfer of knowledge, investments in training, etc. Employers must  complete a Labour Market Benefit Plan (LMBP) to demonstrate the benefits for Canadians. The LMBP will be assessed to ensure program monitoring and compliance to regulations.

Additionally, IRCC and ESDC have communicated that their processing times would be reduced to 10 business days for applications under the Global Skills Strategy. This will align the government processing times more closely with the needs of businesses.

Some questions linger regarding what ESDC will consider “high growth” firm. ESDC is currently working to establish the eligibility criteria in terms of how to define “high growth” as well who is considered “unique talent”. Moreover, ESDC is also in the process of determining what high-skilled in demand occupations are to be included in the “skills shortage list”. Many details remain unknown and both ESDC and IRCC continue to design the Global Skills Strategy which is expected to be implemented within the next few months. The Global Skills Strategy intends to usher in a brain gain to foster innovation and economic growth.

In the meantime, if you are an employer or a high-skilled worker with in-demand skills, contact us to tell us your thoughts on the Global Skills Strategy and how it can benefit you and Canadians.

 For more information on the Global Skills Strategy, please contact us directly. 

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