Holiday Cheers at CCIS’ Temporary Foreign Worker Program!

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW) organized its annual Holiday Party 2023 for its TFW clients and their families last Saturday, December 9, 2023, at Kerby Centre downtown Calgary. All the 247 participants who attended the party were treated to delicious food, exciting performances in the TFW Got Talent show, games, and raffle draws, dance & music put together by our dedicated TFW team.

Our community partners and guests from the Government of Alberta, Cargill, SAIT, IRERI – Mexican, Latino & Cross-Cultural Society, Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters and Allied Workers joined the holiday party to celebrate this festive season with our TFW families and cheered out loud for them during talent show performances. Representatives from Remitly held their booth during the event and talked about their online services for the foreign workers who wish to send money back home during the holiday season.

Thanks to the generous contributions by the donors and the team members, every family had a gift to take back home! We can’t thank enough to our dedicated team of volunteers for their unwavering support and commitment to organizing this party successfully. A special shout out to our volunteer Jyotirmoy Gupta, a photographer and filmmaker by profession who specially joined us last minute to capture some beautiful memories through the day for all of us to cherish.

Once again, this event truly represented the spirit of belonging among migrant workers from diverse backgrounds who came together to celebrate winter holiday season and making it a memorable festive season for all of us. Our hearts are still filled with all the love and laughter witnessed during the Holiday Party and we are already looking forward to our Holiday Party next year!

Until then, on behalf of the TFW team, we wish each one of you a happy and warm holiday season.

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Temporary Foreign Worker Program - Reports & Case Studies 2023

The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) commissioned Pivotal Research Inc. (Pivotal Research) to conduct policy research focused on Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) in the Prairie provinces—encompassing the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan—building on the TFW Prairie Region Project to provide insights and opportunities to strengthen the TFW-serving ecosystem across the Prairie region.

With this goal in mind, three studies were conducted by Pivotal Research with insights gathered from frontline workers, community partners, employers & temporary foreign workers to share their first hand experience.

  • Voice of the Foreign Worker in the Prairie Region: Temporary Foreign Worker Program Reform Considerations

Introduction

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) has commissioned Pivotal Research Inc. (Pivotal Research) in 2023 to conduct immersive research with Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) in the Prairie Region (Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan) focused on gathering their experiences and perceptions of reform considerations for the TFW Program. This is especially so because in 2022, the federal government of Canada announced several amendments to the TFW Program, which were aimed at addressing the challenges TFWs might be facing while they are working temporarily in Canada.

Background

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This year's TFW Assembly got bigger and better!

The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Assembly 2023 attracted a record number of 286 participants including temporary foreign workers from various cities in Alberta, such as Calgary, Edmonton, Brooks, and Medicine Hat organized at The Kerby Centre in downtown Calgary. The event truly celebrated diversity and empowerment while there was a rich tapestry of nationalities, including Mexico, the Philippines, India, and more. The TFW Assembly, which started last year, was a full-day event that brought together TFWs from all over Alberta in collaboration with Consulates, Alberta Government, and community partners. The main focus of the event was to raise awareness and advocate for the rights and welfare of workers in Canada, especially TFWs.

This year, it was an honor to witness the attendance of Consul General of El Salvador - Juan Antonio Salamanca, Vice-Consul General of the Philippine Consulate – Vic Dimagiba and Mexican Consular representative – Monica Flores who offered their unwavering support and assistance to all temporary foreign workers. Moreover, government representatives from various organizations provided insights and guidance on pathways to permanent residency, TFW’s rights and responsibilities, the challenges & realities faced by TFW’s and how they can be addressed. Our community partners from Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA), Korean Social Services Centre (KSSC), IRERI-Mexican, Latino & Cross-Cultural Society, Cargill, Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters & Allied Workers and Ambrose University also graced the occasion to support TFW’s.

  CCIS' TFW program staff with consular representatives, guest speakers & partner organizations

The Assembly commenced with an inspiring opening address by Hasmik Asmaryan, Director of Business Employment and Training Services (BETS) at CCIS. She warmed the stage for an enlightening and empowering experience followed by the first session that kick started with TFW Rights and Responsibilities and government support for TFWs in Alberta. Steve Holzer from Occupations Health & Safety (OHS), Raymond Ivanzus from Service Canada, Simonette Pili & Doris Segura from Temporary Foreign Worker Advisory Office (TFWAO) promoted best practices for foreign workers to safeguard their rights and elaborated a range of government support & services available to them. The second session explored options of pathways to Permanent Residency led by Jatin Shory – a reputed Immigration & Refugee Lawyer and Nataly Ore from Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP). Lastly, the third session highlighted the realities of Serving and Advocating for TFW’s through a round table discussion where the speakers Zoe Lambert from the Worker Resource Centre, Marco Luciano from Migrante Alberta and Harry Dominguez Barbosa from CCIS talked about labor rights violations, limited resources available to TFW’s and advocated for measures to fill gaps in policies for TFW’s.

 

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New measure to benefit foreign workers looking to improve their skills

Study authorization extended for work permit holders.

To learn more visit: New measure to benefit foreign workers looking to improve their skills - Canada.ca

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UPDATE from ESDC: LMIA Application Now Online!

As of April 2023, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is moving to online LMIA applications. Consult the LMIA Online Portal Resources page frequently for details and updates.

Get a head start and use the LMIA Online Portal today!

To read more, please click here

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Changes to open work permit eligibility for family members of foreign workers

Starting January 30, 2023, family members of most foreign workers can apply for an open work permit. A few exceptions may apply to family members of low-skilled workers.

To learn more click here

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Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

To know more cleck here

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Visitors Can Apply for Work Permits until February 28, 2025

Please read this press release from Government of Canada extending work permit application for Canadian visitors for 2 years.

Ottawa, February 28, 2023—Foreign nationals who are in Canada as visitors and who receive a valid job offer will continue to be able to apply for and receive a work permit without having to leave the country. Visitors applying under this public policy who held a work permit within the last 12 months will also continue to be able to request interim work authorization to begin working for their new employer more quickly. Set to expire today, this COVID-era temporary public policy has been extended by 2 years, until February 28, 2025. Leaving this temporary policy in place makes visitors an option for employers in Canada, as many are facing significant labour shortages during this period of economic expansion.

Prior to this temporary policy change, those applying to work in Canada would typically need to apply for their initial work permit before they came to Canada. If they were already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they would need to leave Canada to be issued their work permit. With this policy in place, leaving Canada isn’t necessary.

To be eligible to apply, an applicant looking to benefit from this temporary public policy must

  • have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply
  • have a job offer that is supported by a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment
  • submit an application for an employer-specific work permit no later than February 28, 2025
  • meet all other standard admissibility criteria

Applicants who currently have visitor status but who have held a valid work permit in the past 12 months can follow special instructions to get interim work authorization to start working for their new employer before their work permit application is finalized.

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Work Permit: Bringing Your Family With You to Canada

If you’re applying for a work permit, and your family members want to come to Canada, they must also apply to visit, or to work or study in Canada. They can apply at the same time as you.. Click here to know more

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CRA refund cheques

Temporary Foreign Workers from Guatemala received a total amount of  $32,025.13This total includes missing refund cheques dated back as far as 2013. 

The problem all have faced is not having a permanent Canadian mailing address where their tax refunds are lost or "returned to sender" once these people return to Guatemala, since the employer chose not to hold on to their mail until their back on the following year.

CCIS staff with the help of community volunteers helped in educating the workers and assisted in connecting with Canada Revenue Agency to do the paper works and coordination.

 

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Employers and Temporary Workers to Benefit From Family Work Permits to Address Labour Shortages

The Government of Canada announced on December 2, 2022  the extension of work permits to family members of temporary foreign workers. Expanding the eligibility for work permits to family members accompanying the principal applicant to Canada will help address labour shortages by assisting employers in finding the workers they need.

Starting in January 2023, through a temporary 2-year measure, Canada will expand eligibility to work in Canada to spouses and working-age children through a phased approach for workers at all skill levels.

The temporary measure will be implemented in 3 phases to ensure its successful implementation:

  • Phase 1 will enable family members of workers coming to Canada through the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program or the International Mobility Program to apply for an open work permit.
  • Phase 2 aims to expand the measure to the family members of workers from the low-wage stream of the TFW Program, following consultations.
  • Phase 3 will include consultation with agricultural partners and stakeholders to assess operational feasibility for expanding the measure to family members of agricultural workers.

There will be no changes to the TFW Program, these changes will only apply to spouses and working-age children of temporary foreign workers.

Read More >>

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Government of Canada Strengthens Protections for TFWs

On September 26, 2022, The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Sean Fraser announced that new amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Foreign Workers) are now in force. These 13 new regulatory amendments include measures to strengthen protections for TFWs and will enhance the integrity of the TFW Program and the International Mobility Program (IMP) to read more:

Government of Canada strengthens protections for temporary foreign workers as new regulations come into force – Canada.ca

 

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Alberta Temporary Foreign Workers Program

Alberta’s Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Advisory Office helps temporary foreign workers, international students (with work authorization) and employers understand their rights and find solutions to situations involving unfair, unsafe or unhealthy working conditions

Temporary Foreign Workers | Alberta.ca

 

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Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Prairie Region Project Research

Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Prairie Region Project Research

The Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) and the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) jointly commissioned Pivotal Research Inc. (Pivotal Research) to conduct policy research focused on Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) in the Prairie provinces—encompassing the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan—building on the TFW Prairie Region Project to provide AAISA and CCIS with insights and opportunities to strengthen the TFW-serving ecosystem across the Prairie region.

 

>> Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Prairie Region Project

  

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First Filipino TFW Assembly successfully launched by CCIS' TFW Program

More than a hundred participants took part in the whole day Alberta Filipino Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Assembly held on September 24, 2022, at the Kerby Gymnasium in Calgary.

The assembly was a first in terms of inter-agency collaboration between CCIS , Philippine government, Alberta government, and community partners to promote the rights and welfare of temporary foreign workers.  The event was organized by CCIS in partnership with the Philippine Consulate General in Calgary, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA) , and Edmonton-based Catholic Social Services (CSS). The program was opened by Labour Attaché Jainal Rasul, Jr.  of POLO, Jessica Juen of CCIS and Consul General Zaldy Patron of the Philippine Consulate General in Calgary.

Organizers and resource persons. (Firsr row , left -right: Edwin Silang, CSS; Neil Nicolas , POLO; Lilia de Guzman , OWWA; Olive Macawili, POLO, Consul General Zaldy Patron, Labor Attache Jainal Rasul Jr., Vice Consul Stephanie Cruz, Imelda CAbansag, OWWA; Second Row L-R: Edwin Chavez, CCIS;  Jessica Juen, CCIS; Paul Huismon  and Simonette PIli, Government of Alberta;; Zoe Lambert, Workers Resource Centre; Byanca Nimijean , ACT Alberta; and Lawyer Jatin Shory)

 Foreign workers and community members from Calgary, Edmonton, High River, Banff, Red Deer and as far as Camrose, were so thankful and happy to learn about their rights and welfare and their specific concerns addressed in the assembly.

In the morning, Calgary Workers’ Resource Center’s  Zoe Lambert discussed TFW Rights and Responsibilities . This topic was supplemented by speakers from Alberta’s Ministry of Labour and Immigration , Maggie Godzic of Employment Standards and Simonette Pili of TFW Advisory Office , by providing information about the role of the TFW Advisory Office and pointers on submitting complaints to Employment Standards office and conflict resolution process.

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Alberta Employment Standards

Alberta’s Ministry of Labour and Immigration. Know more about programs and policies to support a diverse workforce, promote safe, fair and healthy workplaces and attract skilled workers

Find out about Alberta’s basic employment standards, what to do if you think they are not being followed, and educational materials to help you better understand them. Know too how to make a complaint.

Link: Employment standards | Alberta.ca

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Changes in hiring agricultural workers in Canada

Changes in hiring agricultural workers in Canada.

Please visit this link to learn more: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/agricultural.html

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Regional Policy Research

Temporary Foreign Worker in the Prairie Region: Regional Policy Research released by AAISA and CCIS, conducted by Pivotal Research, Inc

The TFW Prairie Region Project presents a case study of an unprecedented regional partnership model with time-limited and pandemic-response-focused funding to support TFWs. The project provided partners the opportunity to either formalize or establish a new line of services dedicated to TFWs centered around workplace safety and public health.  This federal support was critical especially in the agricultural and meatpacking sectors most concentrated in the Prairie region that were deemed essential during the pandemic.  

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Applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Public naming of employers for contraventions and violations under the Canada Labour Code and related regulations. Effective January 12, 2022 and until June 30, 2023, Employment and Social Development Canada will suspend minimum advertising requirements for employers applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire temporary foreign workers in primary agriculture.

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/portfolio/labour/public-naming-employers-code-regulations.html#h2.3

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Spanish translation - Guide to Employment Standards in Agriculture

Guide to Employment Standards in Agriculture

Click here to open the document

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