ARCHIVED – The Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement

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Electronic Version

Original signed May 2008


THIS AMENDING AGREEMENT

BETWEEN

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF ONTARIO
as represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
(hereinafter referred to as “Ontario”)

AND

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA
as represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
(hereinafter referred to as “Canada”)

Whereas Canada and Ontario entered into the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (the “Agreement”) dated November 21, 2005;

And whereas the Agreement provides for the negotiation of an annex to the Agreement dealing with temporary foreign workers and that the Agreement may be amended to include additional annexes on the written mutual consent of the parties;

And whereas the Minister of Economic Development and Trade has the provincial lead for a temporary foreign workers annex to the Agreement;

And whereas Canada and Ontario have agreed to amend the Agreement on the terms and conditions hereafter set out;

Now therefore in consideration of mutual promises and agreements contained in this Amending Agreement and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, the parties agree as follows:

  1. In accordance with section 7.4.3 of the Agreement, the Agreement is amended upon the terms and conditions set out in this Amending Agreement commencing on September 1, 2007.
  2. Section 3.4 of the Agreement is deleted and the following substituted:

    3.4 Along with the General Provisions, this Agreement encompasses the following Annexes:

  3. Sections 5, 5.3,1, 5.3.2 and 5.3.3 of the Agreement are deleted.
  4. Section 7.4.4 of the Agreement is deleted and the following substituted:

    7.4.4 Canada and Ontario may agree to negotiate additional annexes to this Agreement or updates to existing annexes which reflect the broad objectives of the Agreement and are related to such matters as:

    1. new immigration priorities or developments;
    2. programs or policies emerging from pilot projects;
    3. refugees and refugee claimants;
    4. other subjects as mutually agreed upon.

  5. The Agreement is amended to encompass Annex G - Temporary Foreign Workers, attached hereto as Appendix “A”.
  6. All capitalized terms not otherwise defined herein shall have the meaning specified in the Agreement.
  7. All other terms and conditions of the Agreement, including without limitation all Annexes to the Agreement, remain unamended and in full force and effect.
  8. This amending agreement will take effect on the date that it is signed by the last of the Parties to do so.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, THIS AMENDING AGREEMENT HAS BEEN SIGNED BY THE PARTIES ON THE DATES WRITTEN ABOVE.

SIGNED this ______ day of ______, 2008

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA

Per: _____________________________
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO

Per: ______________________________
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration


Appendix “A”

Annex G
Temporary Foreign Workers

1.0 PREAMBLE

1.1 For the purposes of this Annex, unless otherwise stated, reference to Ontario means the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, and reference to Canada means the Minster of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) and the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, to be styled Human Resources and Social Development (HRSDC).

1.2 Whereas the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (“COIA”) was signed on November 21, 2005, Canada and Ontario agree that this Annex to the COIA shall constitute an agreement governing the issuance of work permits to foreign nationals destined to work in Ontario on a temporary basis, pursuant to subsection 8(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”).

1.3 Whereas CIC relies on the Service Canada branch of HRSDC for the provision of labour market opinions pursuant to section 203 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”), which opinions are required in order for CIC to issue a work permit, and whereas as a result of HRSDC (Service Canada)’s involvement in the labour market opinion process, it possesses expertise and information that are necessary to Canada and Ontario in order to implement these operational improvements, the Minister of HRSDC is a necessary and proper signatory to this Annex.

1.4 Whereas, pursuant to the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act, the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development styled as Human Resources and Social Development extend to all matters relating to human resources and skills development in Canada over which Parliament has jurisdiction and which are not by law assigned to any other Minister, department, board or agency of the Government of Canada; and whereas the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development styled as Human Resources and Social Development is authorized, pursuant to section 3 of the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act to enter into agreements related to the operations of HRSDC, the Minister of HRSDC is authorized to be a party to this Annex.

1.5 The objective of this Annex is to allow Canada and Ontario to better work together to meet the particular needs and circumstances of Ontario’s employers, labour market and economy with respect to the role played by the entry of foreign nationals to the province to work on a temporary basis.

1.5.1 Canada and Ontario agree that meeting this objective will require the participation and co-operation of various federal and provincial departments in addition to those of the signing Ministers, including but not limited to the Canada Border Services Agency and the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

1.6 The purpose of this Annex is to identify areas of cooperation between Canada and Ontario to support the operation of the federal Temporary Foreign Worker (“TFW”) program in Ontario, to increase employer awareness of available options, to enhance information exchange on policy and operational matters related to the TFW program, to implement policies related to the issuance and conditions of temporary work permits, and to provide Ontario with mechanisms to facilitate the entry of TFWs to Ontario to meet Ontario’s economic development priorities.

1.7 The Annex seeks to promote the entry of TFWs destined to work in Ontario through agreed-upon mechanisms as expeditiously as possible, taking into consideration applicable law, operational and resource constraints, and national security.

1.8 Measures to facilitate and expedite the entry of TFWs will be taken recognizing the importance of supporting the efforts of Ontario employers to train and improve the skills of Ontario workers and job-seekers, and of ensuring compliance with all applicable law including immigration and labour regulations.

2.0 DEFINITIONS

2.1 “Dependent” refers to persons meeting the definition of “dependent child” as set out in section 2 of the IRPR.

2.2 “Job” refers to any piece of work for hire.

2.3 “Occupation” refers to a job which is defined and described in detail in the National Occupation Classification (“NOC”) system as defined in section.2 of the IRPR.

2.4 “Skilled Worker” refers to any worker whose occupation is found in levels 0, A or B of the NOC system. A “low-skilled worker” is any worker who does not fit this definition of “skilled worker”.

2.5 “Temporary Foreign Worker” or “TFW” refers to any foreign national who seeks to engage in work in Canada. “Temporary Foreign Worker Program” or “TFWP” refers to the functions under the IRPA and the IRPR that allow the Government of Canada to authorize foreign nationals to work temporarily in Canada.

2.6 When any term used in this Annex is not defined in this section but is defined in the IRPA or the IRPR, the definition found therein applies.

3.0 SELECTION OF TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS BY ONTARIO

3.1 In this section, references to “Canada” mean CIC.

3.2 Canada and Ontario agree that, pursuant to section 204 (c) of the IRPR, Canada may issue work permits to TFWs destined to Ontario without requiring a labour market opinion (described in section 203 of the IRPR) when Ontario has provided CIC with a written recommendation to do so.

3.3 In exercising this authority, Ontario may recommend the entry of TFWs whose presence in Ontario will promote economic development priorities in Ontario such as securing significant business or industrial investments, encouraging business competitiveness and productivity, advancing scientific research and development, and encouraging the commercialization of research.

3.4 In exercising this authority, Ontario agrees to respect federal TFW program principles and objectives, and Canada’s responsibility in delivering the TFW program pursuant to the IRPA and the IRPR. Ontario’s authority under this section is to be exercised to address the specific objectives set out in the Preamble of this Annex, and is not intended to replace or replicate a labour market opinion as described in section 203 of the IRPR.

3.5 Ontario will endeavour to establish clear and transparent criteria and procedures to govern the use of this authority. Ontario will share with Canada its policies and procedures as adopted.

3.6 Work permit applications supported by an Ontario recommendation will continue to be assessed against all other applicable IRPA and IRPR criteria, including the applicant’s ability to do the job and the likelihood that the applicant will voluntarily leave Canada at the end of the period authorized for their stay. In addition, the applicant must meet all admissibility criteria in order to obtain status as a temporary resident in Canada.

3.7 Ontario agrees that the number of work permits issued to TFW principal applicants will be based upon a written estimate from Ontario. Ontario will provide this estimate to the TFW Working Group, defined in section 7.2 of this Annex, for any given calendar year, starting for the calendar year 2008, no later than November 15 of the preceding year.

4.0 OTHER POLICY INITIATIVES

4.1 In this section, references to “Canada” mean CIC.

4.2 Canada agrees to issue an open work permit to accompanying dependents of a TFW in Ontario if the TFW holds a work permit valid for 6 months or longer and is a Skilled Worker. The work permit will only be issued upon application by the dependent; the work permit will be limited to work in the province of Ontario; and a work permit will only be issued to persons who are otherwise able to be legally employed in Ontario. The work permits should expire the same date as the expiry date of the work permit of the principal work permit holder.

4.3 Where a Canadian permanent resident or citizen who has left Canada returns to Canada to re-establish their residence in Ontario and work in Ontario as a Skilled Worker, and he/she is accompanied by a foreign spouse or common law partner and/or dependents, Canada agrees to issue open work permits to that spouse or common law partner and those dependents upon application, provided the applicants are otherwise legally able to work in Ontario. These open work permits should have a validity period of two years.

4.4 Canada will not require a labour market opinion before issuing work permits to applicants eligible under sections 4.2 or 4.3 of this Annex; however, such applicants must still be assessed against and meet all other applicable federal criteria, including the applicant’s ability to do the job and the likelihood that the applicant will voluntarily leave Canada at the end of the period authorized for their stay. In addition, the applicant must meet all admissibility criteria in order to obtain status as a temporary resident in Canada.

4.5 Canada agrees to pursue changes to facilitate the transition from temporary to permanent status, including:

  1. Investigating the benefits of creating a capacity to i) process applications for permanent residence from within Canada, and ii) support the issuance of permanent residence status to work permit holders from within Canada either at existing CIC offices within Canada or through the establishment of an in-Canada processing centre; and
  2. Exploring the practicality of developing a capacity for the issuance of work permits from within Ontario.

5.0 OPERATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS

5.1 In this section, unless otherwise indicated, references to “Canada” include both CIC and HRSDC/SC.

5.2 In order to help Ontario employers who seek to hire foreign nationals to address demonstrated temporary labour market needs, Ontario and Canada agree to cooperate to assist employers by maintaining up-to-date, comprehensive and easy to understand information on the TFW approval process in accessible and effective formats including web-based, and conducting information seminars on the TFW program for Ontario-based employers on an as-needed basis.

5.2.1 In providing the assistance referred to in section 5.2 of this Annex, Canada and Ontario agree to work to increase employer awareness of the process of obtaining an “approval-in-principle” for a positive labour market opinion from HRSDC/SC for a job offer or number of job offers in advance of the employer actually recruiting a TFW and making him/her a job offer;

5.2.2 Canada and Ontario also agree to work to increase employer awareness of all other federal policies respecting TFWs.

5.3 Canada commits to establish enhanced services for the Ontario business community by providing advice and support to employers and their representatives with respect to specific cases, including liaising with port of entry and overseas visa officials where appropriate; and making best efforts to ensure employers and TFWs have the option of applying for labour market opinions and work permits using on-line technology, within the limits of available resources and technologies.

5.3.1 Canada and Ontario support the principle of providing “one-stop” service for employers where feasible. Before Canada establishes any new service for employers respecting its TFW program, Canada agrees to consult with Ontario to explore any opportunities for co-location, expansion of services, and partnership opportunities.

5.4 In order to increase the economic benefits of the TFW program and support the legitimate needs of employers, Ontario and CIC agree to develop and implement, on a trial basis, a collaborative model to attract prospective TFWs to Ontario. The model will include domestic and international initiatives involving partnerships with missions abroad. Any initiative will take into account available mission resources. Further details of the collaborative model, along with implementation, will be developed by the TFW Working Group as set out in section 7.2 of this Annex.

5.5 Canada and Ontario will consider the practicality of providing an employment opportunity information service, including a job-matching function, to bring together skilled foreign nationals seeking to work in Canada and Ontario employers faced with jobs they cannot staff from within Canada who wish to consider hiring foreign nationals.

5.6 Canada and Ontario will review all operational instructions issued by CIC and currently in effect that provide direction to immigration officers respecting the issuance of work permits, with a view towards better meeting both the objectives of this Annex and the needs of TFWs and their employers. This review will be undertaken by the TFW Working Group as set out in section 7.2 of this Annex.

5.7 Ontario will endeavour to make Ontario a more attractive destination for TFWs by promoting and encouraging improved information for TFWs on eligibility for Ontario health insurance, workers compensation benefits, applicable employer pension plans, and protection under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act.

5.8 Ontario and Canada agree that effective monitoring and compliance of both TFWs and their employers with TFW program rules and conditions, as well as with all applicable federal and provincial laws, is essential to TFW program integrity and the ability of Canada and Ontario to facilitate the entry of TFWs into Ontario. To assist with the on-going administration and enforcement of the TFW program in Ontario, Ontario and Canada agree to work with all relevant departments, including departments of Labour, that respond to complaints or other information respecting work conditions for TFWs.

5.8.1 To facilitate these efforts, Canada and Ontario will enter into an information sharing agreement that will permit the exchange of personal information respecting TFWs in Ontario and their employers to support monitoring and enforcement activity subject to freedom of information and privacy legislation and other requirements of law. The negotiation of this information sharing agreement will be undertaken by the TFW Working Group as set out in section 7.2 of this Annex. Canada and Ontario commit to engage other departments and ministries as appropriate.

6.0 TFW PROGRAM ACCOUNTABILITY AND EVALUATION

6.1 In this section, unless otherwise indicated, references to “Canada” include both CIC and HRSDC/SC.

6.2 Canada and Ontario agree to co-operate to improve the capture and understanding of TFW program accountability measures such as processing times and occupational coding of work permit recipients destined to Ontario, to support the ongoing review and evaluation of the TFW program.

6.3 Canada and Ontario recognize the importance of evaluating the pilot projects that are implemented under this Annex in order to determine their impacts and outcomes in Ontario. Accordingly, Canada and Ontario will develop an evaluation framework to ensure that sufficient data is available and analysis completed at appropriate intervals so that the pilot projects can be appropriately evaluated, as provided in section 4.4.2 of the General Provisions of the COIA. The evaluation framework will be developed by the TFW Working Group as set out in section 7.2 of this Annex.

6.4 Canada will evaluate the national TFW program so as to meet its obligations to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat under its results-based management and accountability framework. The operation of the federal TFW program within the province of Ontario will be evaluated as a component of the national study of the national TFW program.

6.5 Canada agrees to develop means and procedures to code the work permits of TFWs who are destined to work in Ontario in such a way that data pertaining to that group can be extracted from the data for the overall national TFW program, and shared with Ontario, within the limits of Canada’s management information technology. This includes noting work permits that are issued under an Ontario recommendation as described in section 3.0 of this Annex, and work permits issued under the provisions of sections 4.2 and 4.3 of this Annex.

6.6 Subject to section 4.4.3 of the General Provisions of the COIA, Canada and Ontario agree to share information on prospective and actual TFWs destined to Ontario to the extent permitted by law. Canada and Ontario further agree to make available to each other all relevant labour market information in their possession, subject to legal restrictions.

6.6.1 Canada will attempt to obtain authorization from all work permit applicants destined for Ontario to allow the sharing of work permit application information with Ontario by redesigning the work permit application form. This information will be used by Ontario as a basis for assessing the effectiveness of mechanisms, processes and engagement efforts.

6.7 Canada and Ontario will collaborate with respect to the development and implementation of any future TFW program accountability measures.

7.0 ANNEX GOVERNANCE AND OTHER

7.1 In this section, unless otherwise indicated, references to “Canada” include both CIC and HRSDC/SC.

7.2 Canada and Ontario agree to establish a Temporary Foreign Worker Working Group (“TFW Working Group”) to oversee the implementation of this Annex and to meet the ongoing objectives set out in section 1.0 of this Annex, in accordance with the following arrangements:

  1. The TFW Working Group will be co-chaired by one representative each of MEDT and CIC at the Director level.
  2. The TFW Working Group co-chairs will appoint up to 5 members each. Service Canada – Ontario Region and Citizenship and Immigration Canada – Ontario Region, and HRSDC-NHQ and MCI must each have at least one representative.
  3. The TFW Working Group may establish its own terms of reference, guidelines and rules of procedure and practice, including mechanisms for resolving disputes, and specific projects including but not restricted to those set out in this Annex.
  4. The TFW Working Group will meet on a regular basis to set direction and monitor the progress of the initiatives and objectives of this Annex to serve as a forum for sharing information and experiences, to review policy and operational matters related to TFWs in Ontario, to discuss the effectiveness of the Annex in obtaining its objectives and to prepare its report to the Management Committee established in section 7.1.2(c) of the COIA on an annual basis.
  5. The co-chairs of the TFW Working Group may appoint ad hoc inter-jurisdictional task teams for specific tasks or projects identified by the working group and such task teams shall report to the co-chairs of the TFW Working Group.

7.3 The TFW Working Group will report to the Joint Steering Committee and the Management Committee as established respectively in section 7.1 and section 7.1.2(c) of the COIA.

7.4 Pursuant to the provision found in section 7.4.8 of the COIA that allows for specific arrangements for duration, amendments and termination set out in Annexes to the COIA to take precedence over the general provisions, this Annex will remain in effect indefinitely subject to section 7.7 of this Annex.

7.5 In keeping with the objectives set out in section 1.0 of this Annex, Canada will be open and transparent concerning its intention to enter into agreements with other provinces respecting TFWs. Canada will provide, at Ontario’s request,

  1. copies of other federal-provincial agreements made under section 204 of the IRPR
  2. access to terms and conditions of other federal-provincial TFW agreements.

7.6 Pursuant to section 7.4.8 of the COIA that allows for specific arrangements for duration, amendments and termination set out in annexes to the COIA to take precedence over the general provisions, any term of this Annex may be amended by the written mutual consent of the signatories of this Annex.

7.7 Pursuant to section 7.4.8 of the COIA that allows for specific arrangements for duration, amendments and termination set out in Annexes to the COIA to take precedence over the general provisions, this Annex may be terminated by the signatories to the Annex at any time by providing twelve months’ notice in writing to the others.

7.8 Ontario will advise Canada on any proposed arrangement to be entered into with another party to carry out Ontario’s responsibility under this Annex.

7.9 This Annex will take effect on the date that it is signed by the last of the Parties to do so.

SIGNED this ______ day of ______, 2008

_______________________________
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
(Canada)

_______________________________
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
(Canada)

_______________________________
Minister of Economic Development and Trade
(Ontario)

_______________________________
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Ontario)

Date Modified: