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Jun 12, 2017

Canada’s Global Skills Strategy: Opening the Canadian Border to the Next Brain Gain

Featuring: Stephen W. Green and Kelly Goldthorpe

The Global Skills Strategy came into effect on June 12, 2017 in what is promised to be faster access to highly skilled foreign talent to help Canadian companies grow and prosper. The ambitious plan is aimed at reducing barriers and regulatory provisions, helping attract foreign investment, and speeding up the process to bring in foreign skilled talent.

The Government of Canada believes that global talent will help foster innovation and growth for Canadian businesses in this era of global mobility and the race for skilled workers. The Global Skills Strategy is part of the plan to help Canadian firms scale-up their work force and facilitate the entry of highly skilled workers in high-demand occupations to fill job shortages.

The two main pathways for this brain gain will be facilitating the faster and timely entry of skilled foreign workers for short-term Canadian positions and the Global Talent Stream for Canadian firms to scale-up their highly-skilled work force with global talent. 

Short-Duration Work Permit Exemptions:

Skilled workers coming to Canada for less than 30 days are now exempt from the requirement of first obtaining a work permit. In the past, if any foreign worker entered the Canadian labour market, even for one day, they required work authorization. Now, if a worker is coming to perform work for 30 days or less and their occupation is classified as “highly skilled” or “managerial”, they are eligible to work without a work permit.

Researchers are now eligible for a work permit exemption for 120 days if they are coming to work at a publicly funded, degree-granting institution at the college or university level. Researchers who play a significant role or add value to a research project and who can demonstrates academic excellence or expertise in a field related to the position are eligible for this work permit exemption. 

Global Talent Stream:

This two-year pilot offers expedited access to unique, specialized and highly-skilled temporary foreign workers. It is intended for innovative, high-potential, high-growth firms to scale-up and grow.  It is also meant for Canadian firms seeking to hire highly skilled foreign workers in in-demand occupations.

The two streams of the program are:

Category A - for innovative, high-growth, high-potential firms, that have been referred to the Global Talent Stream by a Designated Partner, who need to hire unique and specialized talent. Unique and specialized talent has been defined as:

  • Advanced knowledge of the industry;
  • Advanced degree in an area of specialization of interest to the employer; AND/OR
  • Minimum of five years of experience in the field of specialized experience; AND
  • A highly paid position with a salary of usually $80,000 or more

Category B – for Canadian businesses that are seeking to hire highly-skilled foreign workers to fill the following occupations found on the Global Talent Occupations List:

  • NOC 0213 – Computer and information systems managers;
  • NOC 2147 – computer engineers (except software engineers and designers);
  • NOC 2171 – Information systems analysts and consultants;
  • NOC 2172 – Database analysts and data administrators;
  • NOC 2173 – Software engineers and designers;
  • NOC 2174 – Computer programmers and interactive media developers;
  • NOC 2175 – Web designers and developers;
  • NOC 2241 – Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians who earn a wage of at least $38.94;
  • NOC 2283 – Information systems testing technicians who earn a wage of at least $37.50;
  • Sub-set of 5241 Digital Media and Design – position requires a minimum of five years of industry experience, and skills requirements including: 3D modeling, virtual and augmented reality; animation, level editing, editor and pipeline software and tools in applicable industry; other specialized knowledge of software framework in applicable industry (for example, Unreal 3.0) and/or, Experience in planning and managing a project and earn a wage of at least $38.406.

Both Category A and Category B firms are required to work with the Department of Employment and Social Development to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan that demonstrates their commitment to activities that will track overall job creation, skills and training  investments, and provides a benefit to the Canadian economy through the employment of the highly-skilled global talent.

Category A employers must commit to creating jobs either directly or indirectly for Canadians as a mandatory benefit. Category B employers must commit to increasing skills and training investments for Canadians as a mandatory benefit. Both Category A and B employers must commit to creating complementary benefits such as job creation, investment in skills and training, skills transfer to Canadians, enhanced company performance and implementing best practices or policies as an employer.

Unlike the existing labour market impact assessment process, there is no recruitment requirement and the assessment of the application is based on the benefit to the Canadian labour market rather than the availability of Canadian workers for the position.

The Government of Canada believes that investment follows talent and as part of the innovation agenda, Canada is opening the door to the next brain gain of highly skilled, specialized, in-demand foreign workers who will help Canadian companies scale up and grow their businesses.

 

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