PSAC has been actively engaged in discussions with senior government officials regarding the labour shortages that the oil and gas industry has faced and will undoubtedly face again as a recovery in the current low commodity price takes hold. PSAC has assured government that PSAC members remain committed to hiring Canadians first, but that domestic labour markets are not adequate to supply the much needed skilled labour the industry requires. PSAC has tabled recommendations for changes to immigration and foreign worker programs to ease the process of hiring from foreign labour markets. Some of the changes implemented by the federal government in recent months have been influenced by discussions with PSAC and the Alberta Coalition for Action on Labour Shortages (ACALS) with which PSAC has been collaborating.
The following changes and initiatives have been announced and implemented which positively impact PSAC members’ recruitment efforts:
PSAC continues to have formative and positive discussions with key government agencies and officials, both federally and provincially, about remaining gaps and obstacles for PSAC members in hiring foreign workers and various opportunities and pilot programs to further enhance labour mobility both domestically and internationally into the oil and gas industry.
Countries such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the US and India have signed agreements with Canada under this program, which allows mobility and exchange of young professionals and university graduates to gain Canadian work experience. The program does not require Alberta employers to apply for a Labour Market Opinion, and young workers or students from abroad are not required to secure employment in Canada in advance. More details can be found at the following: Foreign Affairs, International Youth Internship Programs
The provincial and federal governments have joined forces on the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) which helps expedite the processing of an application for permanent residence for valued foreign workers sponsored by their employers. For more information on this program, visit http://www.albertacanada.com/opportunity/immigrating/ainp.aspx.
The Jobs in Alberta website is a free service intending to link Alberta employers with foreign skilled workers. Employers must understand the process for hiring foreign workers or they must have a Labour Market Opinion in place to hire foreign workers. The website address is: http://www.albertacanada.com/opportunity/working/jobs-in-alberta.aspx
For questions about hiring foreign workers, call the Temporary Foreign Worker Hotline at 1-877-944-9955 (toll free in Alberta).
The WCB has published a fact sheet about temporary foreign workers and their coverage. You can download a copy here.