There could be some loosening of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) rules as a parliamentary human-resources committee releases its report some time in the next 30 days.
Whistler Chamber of Commerce CEO Val Litwin was a member of the contingent of national organizations that gave testimony to the parliamentary committee earlier this year.
"What I do appreciate is we went through a national process of consultation, that they recognize — to use the words of a member of the committee — the willingness to look and re-jig some of the 'silly rules,' and what I take as a very positive sign is the way they're going to be looking at the (Labour Market Impact Assessment [LMIA]) process," said Litwin.
Litwin said right now the LMIA process is due diligence that can prove an employer attempted to hire a Canadian.
"So it's an indication of rigour that you went out into the market and you attempted to find a person and they didn't show up," Litwin said, but added that it can work against employers as there are some high-paying positions in Whistler where they can't find Canadians to fill the job and now the government's not letting them bring in a temporary foreign worker.
The TFW program was overhauled in 2014 after allegations that some Canadian companies brought in dozens — if not hundreds — of foreign workers even though there were Canadians who'd applied for the jobs.
Earlier this year, Ottawa approved new measures that would allow seasonal employers to hire many low-skilled workers as long as the total was not more than 20 per cent of their workforce.
"What we didn't know and what we still don't know is what the final recommendations will be," said Litwin. "Generally speaking, we're cautiously optimistic. Sadly, I'm not seeing any nod to tourism, or seasonal workers."
A story last week from The Globe and Mail stated that government might be looking at waiving the Labour Market Impact Assessments, which is what an employer must undertake before hiring foreign workers.
"I take as a very positive sign the way they're going to be looking at the LMIA process. It is cumbersome, it is costly and right now people who are making applications for key positions are being rejected," he said.
In an email, a vacationing Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Sea to Sky MP said: "The Government of Canada has heard from businesses, advocates and caucus colleagues from across the country that change is needed.
"As always, our goal is to help Canadians looking for work, support Canadian employers, and address issues such as the path to citizenship for those in the program. We look forward to speaking on the committee's recommendations in their report that is to be presented in the fall, which we hope will bring clarity, focus, transparency, and accountability to the program."
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