Changes to Canada HR, Foreign Worker Programs

Following the cabinet shuffle this summer, key changes on the employment and human resources front include a newly named department. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada will now be known as Employment and Social Development Canada.

Jason Kenney is the new Minister of Employment and Social Development, and  Kellie Leitch Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women.

Recent activity within the department includes changes and industry consultations with regards to the temporary foreign worker program. With numerous fleets across the country using the temporary foreign worker program as a means of recruiting drivers, consultations took place with various fleets to get input on the proposed changes to the application process, referred to as the “labour market opinion.”

Confirmed changes to the program include a new, employer paid, processing fee of $275 per individual coming to Canada through the program;  a requirement that the only languages to be identified as a job requirement are English and French; and new advertising requirements on the part of employers which include an increase in ad time and reach.  Final changes to the application process will follow industry consultations.

The recent announcement from the Canadian Employment Insurance Commission regarding Employment Insurance (EI) rates should also be of interest to trucking employers. The 2013 level of $1.88 per $100 of insurable earnings will not increase in 2014 and additionally the rate will be set no higher for 2015 and 2016 as well.  Maximum insurable earnings for 2014 will increase to $48,600 from $47,400 in 2013.
For those covered under the Quebec parental insurance plan (QPIP), the premium reduction will be $0.35 per $100 of insurable earnings.  This means a payment of $1.53 per $100 of insurable earnings.

Overall, the government states these freezes in premiums will leave $660 million in the pockets of job creators and Canadian workers.

Employers registered under the Premium Reduction Program (PRP) will have reductions ranging from $0.22 to $0.37 per $100 of insurable earnings.  This will result in $852 million in premium relief.  Registered employers will be notified individually, as individual premium reductions may vary.

CTA is also monitoring the proposed Canada Job Grant to ensure accessibility and applicability for trucking employers.