Family Businesses and Labour Market Opinions/Arranged Employment Opinions

By Author: Admin | June 12, 2011

Family Businesses and Labour Market

There used to be a special type of arranged employment for skilled workers called the Family Business Job Offer.  This program allowed small businesspersons whose businesses were characterized by cash transactions to certify a job offer for a relative.  The job position had to be one characterized as  a ‘position of trust’.  It used to be a way for busy convenience store owners, and dry cleaners to get a relative to immigrate to Canada and assist in these jobs characterized by long hours and lots of small cash transactions.  This program has been absent since 2002.  It was a great program because it united two concepts under Canada’s immigration law: family reunification, and employment in service jobs.  Something to please both those persons who believe immigration should be for economic reasons, and the others who believe it should also include family reunification as a goal.

The above defunct program would be thus be something agreeable to the Editorial Board of the National Post.  The National post has no problem with the existence of family reunification, citing how it can increase the productivity of immigrants in hour-intense jobs, a position which implicitly acknowledges that family reunification is firmly embedded within Canada’s immigration laws.  This is consistent with the Conservative party’s intention to cater to the economically established immigrants; those with traditional values and fiscal concerns.  Unfortunately, the Conservative party was unsuccessful in attracting many immigrant votes during the 2011 election due to the well-known intention of strangling the family class category of government resources, hence leading to unreasonably lengthy  processing times.

The government of Alberta, the scene of an impending labour shortage , is advocating that the federal government  shrink employment insurance eligibility in other provinces, in hopes of compelling workers from elsewhere in Canada to come to Alberta.  This makes sense, particularly since the prerequisite for the issuance of a Labour Market Opinion (i.e. a job offer certified by the Canadian government)  is to advertise the job vacancy on a National level . This would put job seekers on notice in Newfoundland, for example, of the availability of a job in Alberta.  The ongoing issuance of labour market opinions in the face of national advertising of jobs in Alberta seems to imply that jobless Canadians such as those in the Maritimes, do not want to move to places like Alberta to work, presumably due to (in the words of the National Post editorial board) the “bloated welfare state”.

Canadian employers, both large companies and individuals, have been known to abuse foreign workers.   This has led to the creation in Canada’s immigration law of a blacklist for employers who have not complied with the law on the recruitment of foreign workers.

Advertising is also coupled with a requirement to offer a ‘prevailing wage’ in the job being offered as a prerequisite to the issuance of an LMO.  In other words, the wage being offered must be consistent with the wages being paid to Canadians working in the same occupation and geographical area. The criticism many of my colleagues have in this regard is that HRSDC often does not reveal how they determine a ‘prevailing wage’ in an occupation that is subject to an LMO application.  This causes many Canadian immigration lawyers to, when faced with a refused LMO, repeatedly advertise and subsequently reapply for an LMO with a higher wage.

The concern of HRSDC in this regard is understandable, even if its methods in determining a prevailing wage are mysterious, and hence arguably, unfairly determined. HRSDC wants to avoid making Canada a sweatshop to the world (like the southern states of the USA); prevent the driving down of wages by ensuring that Canadian employers pay wages that typify the Canadian job market.  But family businesses are often sweatshops, and consensually so, since the motivation for family members to work hard isn’t just for money, but to help the family as a whole.  Perhaps it is time for the Immigration Minister to reinstate the FBJO program.

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