CILA’s October 2021 recommendations to minister Qualtrough


October 27, 2021

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
House of Commons 
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Qualtrough,

The Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (CILA) congratulates you on your re-appointment to cabinet. CILA wishes you tremendous success and looks forward to continuing to partner with you in pursuit of our shared objective to enhance Canada’s prosperity.

CILA was recently founded in January 2021 to promote justice and fairness in citizenship and immigration law. Our main goal is to support improvements to Canada’s immigration policies and operations. This includes supporting your department’s efforts to improve temporary foreign worker streams and the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process.

CILA recognizes that ministers and civil servants have been requesting timely comment on breaking immigration and foreign worker issues. CILA is well positioned to assist as our members have extensive experience as practitioners and a long history of volunteering and commenting on all aspects of our immigration and foreign worker programs. CILA is enthusiastic about sharing our expertise and insights in these consultations to help your department achieve its objectives.

We have reviewed the Liberal Party of Canada’s 2021 campaign promises. We are pleased to see your commitment to important initiatives such as establishing a trusted employer system so that Canadian companies can hire foreign workers more quickly when Canadian workers are unavailable, as well as growing and improving the Global Talent Stream. CILA wishes to draw attention to what we believe are other noteworthy objectives:

  • Fixing IT Issues Related to LMIA Applications: In recent months, your department’s IT system has been malfunctioning which has prevented your officers from issuing LMIA approval letters in a timely fashion, thereby increasing processing times. In addition, your online LMIA application system is no longer operational despite your department continuing to encourage employers to apply online. We urge your department to fix these issues immediately and publicize this service outage. Canada is facing labour shortages which is slowing our economic recovery. Delays to LMIA processing are undermining our recovery efforts. We encourage your department to invite CILA and other stakeholders to test new technology before it is launched so that we can limit technical problems in the future.
  • Providing Detailed Guidance on Teleworking: Teleworking was growing in popularity prior to the pandemic, especially to attract the best talent and to accommodate women in the workforce. The pandemic has made teleworking the norm and many employers are now adopting full- time or hybrid remote work options for their workforces.  In view of these structural changes to employment arrangements, ESDC must offer more guidance with respect to permanent telework arrangements where foreign workers are to be employed in Canada under LMIA-backed work permits. Moreover, employers require insight  on whether offering a remote-first work option will impact the LMIA evaluation process. The new remote work model must be recognized as a term of employment and factored into the compliance assessment process. Policy guidance is urgently needed so that businesses are not disadvantaged in trying to fill key positions and maintain compliance with the TFWP.
  • Publishing Information on NOC 2021: We ask that your department release information on how NOC 2021 will affect LMIA applications as soon as possible so that stakeholders are prepared when the changes are implemented in autumn 2022.
  • Social Media Updates: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) posts social media updates on platforms such as Twitter when its application portals are not working properly. Such updates are not made readily available to the public when your department’s LMIA portal experiences challenges. CILA asks your department to provide regular updates on social media so that the public is made aware of such portal challenges, and informed when the portal is working again.
  • Extending LMIA Durations to Three Years: LMIAs were previously valid for up to three years but currently have a maximum validity period of two years. This has exacerbated processing times and the shorter duration creates additional work for your department, IRCC, employers and foreign workers. CILA encourages your department to restore the three-year maximum duration for LMIAs.

Improve Processing Times: Reducing processing times is also crucial to supporting Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery. CILA welcomes the opportunity to provide additional input to your department on how we can streamline LMIA application processing times.

CILA congratulates you once again. We look forward to scheduling a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss how we can help you fulfil your mandate.


The CILA Steering Committee

Betsy Kane
Barbara Jo Caruso
Stéphane Duval
Ravi Jain
Vance Langford
Jennifer Nees

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