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Service Canada - ALMO & Web Service are Live!

ALMOs

April 1st is when Service Canada was supposed to roll out its Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (ALMO) process. It finally went live yesterday (April 25th). By chance, we had Howard Jones from Service Canada come to speak to us on the roll-out, fresh off the press. We will learn more about this new system as people start to use it, but here's what we know so far.

The ALMO stream is meant for experienced employers with a clean record to request and receive LMOs in as few as 10 business days. in order to qualify, the employer must meet the following minimum requirements:
  • the employer must have been granted a positive LMO in the last 2 years (in any NOC)
  • the employer has a clean record (no complaints or violations)
  • the LMO being sought in the ALMO process is for a NOC 0, A, or B occupation
Service Canada expects these employers to participate in compliance reviews after the LMO is issued. Not all files will be reviewed for compliance - files are randomly selected, except for a few that are flagged for risk. In order to meet Service Canada's requirements during a compliance review, an employer must retain documents to prove they have complied with their LMOs (eg. payroll records). NOTE: the compliance review applies to any LMOs that the employer has received in the past 2 years, and is not limited to reviewing the LMO granted under the ALMO process.

Consequences of non-compliance will result in the employer becoming ineligible to use the ALMO process. In situations where a work permit has not yet been issued, the ALMO will be revoked. The results of adverse reviews will be put on the employer's "permanent file" and that employer will likely be flagged every time they file a new application.

The ALMO process should take applications where no workers are named ("unnamed" LMOs). Bulk LMO requests (ie. for 50+ workers) may not be possible in the ALMO process because of the added review that is required by Service Canada on such files to determine the impact on our labour market.

A change in policy also allows employers to offer wages that are up to 15% lower than the posted prevailing wage rate, if the employer can justify it. In such cases, the employer must demonstrate that the prevailing wage rate from the workingincanada.gc.ca website is higher than the average that is actually paid to Canadians for that position, at that location. Employers must demonstrate that Canadians and permanent residents employed with them, in that same occupation, are being paid that lower wage. The downside - expect your file to always be flagged for a compliance review.

The attestation that accompany the application must provide at least the following minimum information:
  • essential information about the position for which the ALMO is sought
  • provide an overview of the employer's business activities and staffing needs
  • details of recruitment efforts carried out; demonstrate the genuineness of the job offer
Considering the processing times of 10 days, as compared to 10-12 weeks for the regular stream, it is well worth trying out this new stream for trusted employers. I expect this 10 day processing time will increase in the initial stages as people begin to flood the system with applications, while officers learn how to use this new system.

WEB SERVICE

Service Canada also launched its web service yesterday. This will allow employers, or their authorized third party representatives, to file LMO applications online, instead of having to fax or courier them.

Employers must register for web access. Once registration is complete they will be provided a user name and password. Different levels of access can be provided by the main account holder. This will allow different individuals within the organization to have access to the Service Canada account, with varying degrees of access.

Third party representatives need to complete a similar registration process. Once significant improvement is that the system again allows the appointment of secondary "administrator" accounts for staff to enable them to complete certain tasks or seek out information. The system will also allow multiple lawyers to be representatives on one particular file.

Initial third party activation requests being designated by an employer. Activation occurs on the first file and need not be done on each new file.

Expect by this fall to be able to determine where your LMO falls in the processing queue at any particular point in time.

Once an LMO is approved, the employer or their third party representative can access and print it directly from the website rather than having to wait for it to arrive in the mail/fax.

Comments

  1. I agree to a certain extent. People who come to work can contribute and improve society in a number of ways.

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