Backgrounder — Canada-Alberta pilot project expanded to include more occupations

The Temporary Foreign Worker occupation-specific pilot project was established under the Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration and was launched on June 1, 2011, in Alberta. 

This pilot project allows certain Temporary Foreign Workers in specific skilled, in-demand occupations to be issued a work permit that allows them to move freely between employers, without first receiving authorization from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Previously, only the steamfitter/pipefitter occupation was included in this pilot project.

Effective July 16, 2012, the occupations in the pilot program are expanded to also include:  

  • Welder
  • Heavy duty equipment mechanic
  • Ironworker
  • Millwright and industrial mechanic
  • Carpenter, and
  • Estimator.

Parameters of the Pilot Project

To ensure the protection of the Canadian labour market, Temporary Foreign Workers taking part in the occupation-specific pilot will be required to have an initial job offer from an Alberta employer or an employer acting on behalf of a recognized Group of Employers.

The job offer from the employer must indicate that the wages offered are consistent with the prevailing wage rate paid to Canadians in the same occupation in the region and that the working conditions for the occupation meet the current provincial labour market standards.

Eligibility Requirements

Uncertified Applicants

An applicant who has an approval letter from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT) for an application in the Alberta Qualification Certification Program for one of the trades included in the pilot and an initial job offer for a position located in Alberta from an employer or a recognized Group of Employers, can apply between July 16, 2012, and July 31, 2013. If approved, they will be issued a one-year Work Permit that allows him or her to work in a specific occupation for one employer until the appropriate provincial certification is obtained.

Additional information on Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT) certification requirements to work in a trade in Alberta can be found at www.tradesecrets.alberta.ca.

Certified Applicants

An applicant who holds an Alberta Qualification Certificate or a trade certificate recognized in Alberta in one of the occupations included under the pilot and who is currently working for, or has a job offer from, an employer in Alberta, can apply between July 16, 2012, and July 31, 2013. If approved, they will be issued a two-year occupation specific/open Work Permit that enables easy mobility in that specific occupation between employers in Alberta.

Qualified Estimators

Applicants applying to work as estimators who are certified by the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS) (http://ciqs.org/), or who have completed a three-year college program in civil or construction engineering technology, or have several years of experience as a qualified tradespersons in a construction trade such as plumbing, carpentry or electrical, can apply between July 16, 2012, and July 31, 2013. If approved, they will be issued a two-year occupation specific/open Work Permit that enables easy mobility in that specific occupation between employers in Alberta.

Qualified estimators are not required to apply to the Alberta Qualification Certificate Program, and therefore will not have an approval letter from AAIT.  Employers hiring estimators under this pilot project must ensure the applicant has the qualifications to perform the job duties of the occupation.

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