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Update on CCA Lobbying re Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Posted on January 5, 2015 by CCA Communications Committee

Dear CCA Members,

We trust that you are all doing well. We’re excited to warm you up with some holiday cheer by providing an update on our lobbying efforts regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. We know that the changes made at the end of June affect many camps in our association and please know that we have been working hard to resolve the difficulties with both the Federal and Provincial Governments. At this point, we do not have any solutions to report, but we definitely have the ear of the government and they seem motivated to develop a plan to solve our challenges.

As well, we are happy to let you know that there are no changes to the current exemption for international staff working at charitable or religious camps. This fee exempt permit can be secured for staff at a Canadian Port of Entry (Canadian border) or through a new pre-application process offered by Service Canada. Please feel free to contact Jonathan Nyquist if you would like to learn more about this permit, the process to pre-apply or if have questions about whether your camp qualifies: jonathan@go-nyquest.com. In addition, the Working Holiday Permit which many international staff acquire is still valid for working in any position at camp. To find a list of countries that offer Working Holiday Permit programs, please refer to the following link and scroll through the list of countries in the pick list under “Where you would like to go”: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/residents/iec/index.asp

In regards to potential solutions for all for-profit camps that do not have a religious focus, we are working closely with variety of departments in the federal government. We are urging the government to lower our fees on LMIA applications for camps (current fee is $1,000 per international staff. Up from $275 last year and $0 the year before) as well as relief from lengthy application processing times. We are also working with the government to hopefully create a reciprocal work permit program between the US and Canada, which will allow the same number of Americans to work at Canadian camps as there are Canadians that work at camps in the US. Lastly, we are in discussions with the head of the Working Holiday Permit program to try to secure additional Working Holiday Permits for camps.

During our two trips to Ottawa, we have met with several government departments and political staff including Minister Jason Kenney’s office (Employment and Social Development) and MInister Chris Alexander’s office (Citizenship and Immigration). These two Ministers are currently in-charge of overseeing the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and approving exemptions for specific industries, where deemed appropriate. Minister Tony Clement is also influential in these discussions and he has spoken with Minister Kenney to help support our case. As well, we specifically want to extend a big Thank You to the following camps who wrote a letter to Minister Clement to persuade him to take a stand on this issue: Camp Walden, Camp Manitou, Glen Bernard Camp, Camp Tawingo, Camp Tamarack, Canadian Adventure Camp, Camp Arowhon, Camp New Moon, The Taylor Statten Camps, Camp Wabun, YMCA Wanakita, Camp Bil-O-Wood, Centauri Summer Arts Camp, Camp Pathfinder, Camp Winnebagoe, Hockey Opportunity Camp and Camp Tanamakoon.

In addition, the federal government is aware that we are working on a tight time line and they are trying to find a resolution to our situation by February or March. As you have likely seen in media coverage over the last several months, the Temporary Foreign Worker issue is a very politically-sensitive one, with many sectors and industries engaged on the issue in different ways. We are focused on continuing the productive dialogue that has already started with the federal government, towards developing a solutions package that will work for you as camp operators.

As camps look to prepare for their work permit applications for the upcoming camping season, we have two important updates:

  1. Training: The government will host camp industry specific trainings in the form of in-person sessions and/or webinars to answer questions and support camps with their work permit applications. We will secure the times for these trainings by February.
  2. Advertising: We recommend that all private camps that might utilize the LMIA work permit application process begin posting three job advertisements by the end of February. Camps need to advertise their staffing positions in three places, one of which can be a provincial camping job board and one of which MUST be the Canadian Job Bank: http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/home-eng.do?lang=eng. Camps counsellors have an advertising variation in Ontario, so for these staff, camps can apply for LMIA’s even before their advertisements have been posted for four weeks:http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/variations.shtml.

We are organizing our next round of meetings in Ottawa in January and although we are excited about the positive reaction from the government, we know that we still have a long way to go and may need your support. We will be sure to report any significant developments in the upcoming months and let you know if we require any additional support regarding our efforts

If you have any further questions regarding anything presented in this communication then please feel free to follow up directly with Jonathan Nyquist (jonathan@go-nyquest.com) or Mark Diamond (mark@manitoucamp.com).

Sincerely,

Mark Diamond, Jonathan Nyquist
Team Leaders for Temporary Foreign Worker File – CCA Government Relations Committee

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The CCA Communications Committee produces regular online content for Canadian camps.