WHITEHORSE— Citizenship and Immigration Canada has approved the Government of Yukon to launch a one year pilot of the Yukon Temporary Foreign Worker Program on August 1. The program has been designed to help meet Yukon’s short-term labour market needs in the tourism and hospitality, oil and gas, mineral exploration and mining industries.
“When employers in specific industries advertise locally but are unable to find employees, this program is an excellent option to fill those positions on a short-term basis,” Education Minister Scott Kent said. “Yukon Education and our partners at the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board have worked hard to create a strong program that benefits the labour market while protecting the rights of both employees and employers.”
Yukon’s economy fluctuates on a seasonal basis and employers sometimes need fast, short-term access to workers. This pilot program enables Yukon businesses to hire temporary foreign workers for a period of up to 12 months when their employment needs aren’t being met locally.
“To ensure Yukoners and Canadians always have first opportunity for new jobs, employers cannot look to temporary foreign workers until available jobs have been advertised to Canadians for four weeks,” Kent added.
Any employer hiring temporary foreign workers must pay the median wage for the position as indicated by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s Working in Canada website.
“Yukon businesses are excited about the potential offered by this program,” Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce chair Philip Fitzgerald said. “Yukon employers want to hire local whenever possible and we encourage Yukoners to monitor job postings and apply for positions that they are qualified for and interested in. This new program will provide businesses with another option to fill positions when local workers aren’t available. We are grateful that government is pursuing creative options that can help businesses and the Yukon economy grow.”
The pilot is unique when compared with other Canadian jurisdictions because of how closely program staff worked with the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board for the purpose of on-site monitoring to ensure compliance with the program. Yukon is the first jurisdiction in Canada to take these steps.
The new program differs from the existing Yukon Nominee Program because it focuses on providing workers for a short term only, no more than 12 months. The nominee program is for foreign workers seeking permanent residency. Both are federal programs administered by the Yukon government.
Employers can contact the Immigration unit of Yukon Education for more information about the Yukon Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
See backgrounder below.
Backgrounder – Yukon Temporary Foreign Worker Program (YTFWP)
To best meet the needs of Yukon’s labour market, the YTFWP features the following regulations:
- Before applying to the program, employers must first advertise the availability of vacant jobs to Canadians for four weeks.
- The program’s purpose is to be a solution to temporary or seasonal labour shortages. Employers can hire a temporary foreign worker for a maximum of 12 months and can hire a maximum of 50 temporary foreign workers per year.
- To ensure that the program is meeting labour market needs in a timely manner, employer applications for temporary foreign workers will be processed in four to six weeks. The process is expedited in part because employers do not need to obtain a Labour Market Opinion before applying. Instead, it is up to the employer to demonstrate an inability to get labour locally.
- Protecting the rights of both the employee and the employer are paramount. As a condition of participation in the program the employer, the temporary foreign worker and Yukon Education sign a legally binding agreement that sets out the agreed to terms and conditions of employment, as well as the requirements of the YTFWP.
- This program is unique in Canada in that Yukon Education will work in partnership with the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board to provide proactive monitoring of worksites where temporary foreign workers are employed, and to investigate health and safety concerns that arise.