Bridging Open Work Permit Helps Workers Stay in Canada

Work Permit
Work Permit (Photo credit: Cliph)
Canada is committed to retaining the talented temporary foreign workers it needs to ensure continued economic growth. This includes making sure that temporary foreign workers are able to make a smooth transition to Canadian Permanent Residency if they so choose.
Beginning on December 15th, 2012, the Government of Canadaintroduced the Bridging Open Work Permit. This permit helps temporary foreign workers remain in Canada during their permanent residency application process. This takes pressure off of both workers and their Canadian employers, and allows them to continue working in Canada while waiting to hear word on the immigration application.
What is the Bridging Open Work Permit (BWP)?
It is not unusual for a foreign worker to realize that their temporary work permit is set to expire during the course of their permanent residency application process. Before the BWP, they were required to undergo the lengthy process of applying for work permit renewal if they wished to continue working in Canada. If a work permit could not be obtained, the individual (and their family) had the choice to either stay in Canada as a visitor, thus foregoing an income from work, or to leave the country until a permanent resident visa was issued.
Now, existing temporary foreign workers can apply for an Open BWP as long as they:
  • are currently in Canada;
  • have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within 4 months;
  • have received confirmation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that their permanent resident application under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program, or a Provincial Nominee Program is eligible for processing
Do you have Confirmation of Eligibility for your PR Application?
The confirmation of eligibility is usually issued for applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program when a positive Final Determination of Eligibility letter has been sent or emailed by the Central Intake Office (CIO). For the Canadian Experience Class , the Federal Skilled Trades Program , and the Provincial Nominee Programs, confirmation of eligibility is usually communicated when an Acknowledgement of Receipt has been sent by letter or email.
If you do not have either of these documents, you will need to contact CIC or request a copy of the notes relating to your Immigration application to determine whether your PR application has been found eligible for processing.
Receiving a Bridging Open Work Permit
A BWP is valid for 1 year after its issuance. During this time, it should be possible for an individual to receive a decision on their permanent residency application. If no decision is received, a request for extension of a BWP will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
If an applicant is applying for permanent residency through a Provincial Nominee Program, the open work permit will be restricted to the specific province the applicant has applied to.
“This work permit offers some long-awaited help to both foreign workers and employers alike,” said Attorney David Cohen. “By allowing foreign workers to easily stay and work while their permanent residency application is being processed, the Canadian government is underscoring just how highly they value these individuals.”
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Coming to Canada as a Nurse – The Process

Permanent Resident Card (2002-2007)
Permanent Resident Card (2002-2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In our last edition, CIC News explained how Canada has opened its doors to welcome internationally educated nurses. This article will focus on the different ways a nurse can come to Canada to work and live. As the demand for nurses continues to grow, nurses are presented with the opportunity to seek either permanent or temporary residency in Canada.
A registered nurse or licensed practical nurse seeking permanent residency in Canada is invited to discover the benefits of the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) immigration program. Nurses with international credentials may also seek temporary residency in Canada if they obtain a valid job offer and subsequent work permit. Once working in Canada on a temporary basis, permanent residency options may later present themselves through alternate immigration programs.
Permanent Residency: The Quebec Option:
The Province of Quebec has implemented an immigration policy that reflects its high demand for nurses. With high salaries, available jobs and a rapidly expanding healthcare system, Quebec seeks to bring the best international nursing professionals to its cities and towns. The QSW program, the province’s most popular program for permanent residency, has been set up in a way that benefits qualified nurses.
The QSW program offers internationally educated nurses an opportunity to seek permanent residency in Canada without the need to secure a job offer. The QSW program is a points-based selection system and points are awarded for various factors which include age, education, area of training, work experience, language ability etc. If an applicant scores enough points to reach the pass-mark, he or she will generally qualify for a Quebec Selection Certificate, which ultimately leads to a Canadian permanent resident visa, in the absence of health and/or security issues.
The QSW selection criteria awards a significant number of points for French language ability. However, under this program many nurses are able to score enough points to reach the pass mark without obtaining any points for French language ability. This is because nurses are able to earn very high points for the “area of training” selection factor as well as high points for their education.
To find out more about the QSW program and its selection factors, please click here.
Temporary Residency: The Work Permit Option:
As the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is predicting a continued shortage of nurses in the future, nursing jobs in the country are more plentiful than ever. Internationally educated nurses may apply to work temporarily in Canada. Temporary residency for foreign trained nurses may be achieved if the applicant secures a valid job offer and subsequently, a work permit.
To begin this process, an applicant with a nursing degree from outside Canada must have their educational credentials assessed. Since educational credentials can be assessed from both inside and outside Canada, applicants are given the option to remain in their country of residence during the assessment process.
After educational credentials have been assessed, applicants must register as a nurse in Canada. When this has been completed, an applicant may initiate the process of obtaining a job offer and work permit in Canada. To facilitate the process of finding a job offer, some individual provinces have implemented services helping connect internationally educated nurses to employment opportunities in healthcare communities.
Once working in Canada on temporary basis, an applicant looking for permanent residency may then explore their immigration options through programs such as the Canadian Experience Class or Provincial Nominee programs.
How to register as a nurse in Canada:
Any nurse planning to work in Canada must be deemed as qualified to practice as a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed/Registered Practical Nurse (LPN/RPN). To qualify, an applicant must register with either the Canadian Nurses Association (CAN) or the Canadian Council for Practical Nurse Regulators (CCPNR).
In Canada registration requirements are established by individual provinces and territories. To register with the CNA or CCPNR, nurses must first apply to the nursing regulatory body of the province or territory where they wish to work:

In general, in order to be eligible to register as an RN or LPN, an applicant will need to demonstrate competency to practice. To demonstrate this, an applicant will need to have their education credentials assessed. Once education credentials are deemed equivalent to nursing education programs in Canada, the nursing regulatory body will then address whether other application requirements are met. Additional application requirements generally include criteria such as work experience, good character, language proficiency, screening for criminal history and registration in the jurisdiction where the applicant currently practices.
Once a positive assessment of the application requirements has been met, Canadian provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec, require that nurses write the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE) or Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE) as part of the registration or licensure process (the province of Quebec maintains its own registration examination). At present, these exams can only be written in Canada. Once an applicant has successfully completed the required examination, the applicant may be eligible to work as a nurse in Canada.
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Medical Laboratory Technologist in Canada.

English: MLS in his work environment.
English: MLS in his work environment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The profession of medical laboratory technologist is a regulated one in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. The profession is not regulated in the provinces of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Territories.
Appropriate provincial and territorial regulatory bodies set the rules and regulations for entry into the profession and issue licenses to those who meet the qualifications.By law, you are not allowed to work as a medical laboratory technologist in any province where it is regulated, if you haven’t been issued a license by the regulatory body there.
The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science(CSMLS) is the national certifying body and professional association for medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory assistants. The CSMLS conduct examinations for general medical laboratory technology, diagnostic cytology, clinical genetics and medical laboratory assistants. It works in partnership with provincial regulatory bodies, does advocacy work and certifies people in the profession. Its certification is accepted across Canada and required by the provinces and territories that do not have yet an individual regulatory body.
To improve your chances of success to practice your profession in your future country, there are many steps that you can take before immigrating to Canada:
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Many international students still waiting for visas to study in Canada

The Strathcona Music Building, formerly Royal ...
The Strathcona Music Building, formerly Royal Victoria College. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Macdonald-Stewart Library Building houses ...
The Macdonald-Stewart Library Building houses the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: International Students
English: International Students (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just days before thousands of students around the world are set to leave home to begin earning a Canadian education, some still don’t know whether they will be allowed into Canada in time to start school.
An ongoing strike by the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) has caused a backlog in processing visas of all types, including those required for international students landing at Canadian colleges and universities. The rate of visa approvals has dropped by 15 per cent, and there has been a 5 per cent decline in requests for visas, a PAFSO representative said.
The hold-ups are bad timing for Canadian schools making a co-ordinated push to raise the country’s profile as a destination for top foreign students. A federally commissioned panel has set the goal of doubling Canada’s international enrolments by 2022, but higher education officials fear the headaches over visa delays are doing harm to Canada’s reputation, and that could have lasting consequences. Each international student kept out of Canada represents a dent in a school’s bottom line. Foreign undergraduates bring important revenue to universities, paying an average of $18,641 in tuition and fees annually, and international students spent an estimated $7.7-billion in 2012.
“It is potentially a very serious issue,” said Gail Bowkett, director of international relations for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “Perception is key, and if a perception starts spreading that Canada’s difficult to get into, then that really could damage our brand.”
After being admitted to McGill University, Sara Awad, 18, put in her visa application in mid-July through an agent in her hometown of Cairo, Egypt. She was stunned to learn it would take six to seven weeks – she was supposed to be on campus by then.
“My friends who are going to the U.S., they got their visa in three days, or even people going to France, they got it in 10 days,” despite the political turmoil that has engulfed Egypt, she said. “It was a bit difficult.”
Ms. Awad worried she might not make it to McGill in time, and considered the American University in Cairo as a backup plan. Luckily, her father had a contact in Cairo’s Canadian embassy whom he pressed for help, securing her a visa just last week. She is relieved, but will still arrive late in Montreal, and “will miss some parts of the orientation week,” she said.
Many higher education officials had predicted the backlog would be much worse. “So far, it’s not as bad as I thought,” said Ysaac Rodriguez, manager of international student services at Saint Mary’s University, where 26 per cent of students come from abroad – the highest proportion of any Canadian university.
Most colleges and universities are hearing from small numbers of students whose visas are yet to be processed, and who are starting to worry. Mr. Rodriguez has had a few such conversations, and wouldn’t be surprised if he winds up 50 students short at the school’s September orientation. At the University of Waterloo, about 15 students have voiced concerns, while about 20 others have told the University of Calgary they are anxiously awaiting visas.
“We think [the number of affected students is] a bit bigger than that 20, but until a little closer to September, when they’re needing to get on the airplane, we’re not entirely sure,” U of C registrar David Johnston said.
The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) was one of several groups to huddle with government and foreign-service union officials, making their concern known. “As we get closer and closer, if [a student] hasn’t received word from Canada about a visa and they’ve got an acceptance to another country – an Australia or a Germany or so forth – then they may go for that option,” ACCC spokesman Shawn Dearn said.
However, the ACCC was assured student requests have been prioritized where possible. Students fearing they won’t get their visa in time “may also submit a letter from an educational institution indicating that the institution would accept a late arrival, specifying until when,” Citizen and Immigration Canada spokesperson Julie Lafortune said in an e-mail.
In response, most schools have given international students a grace period – often until the first week of classes finishes in mid-September – through which they will hold spaces and residence rooms. “We are expecting late arrivals,” said Virginia Macchiavello, director of international development at Centennial College in Toronto, which had 5,000 international students last year. “We will provide support services to catch them up.”
For those who can’t make it soon enough, schools are recommending deferrals until next semester, or even next fall, and crossing their fingers the students don’t go elsewhere instead.
“The worst thing that could happen is that they arrive [too late] and then fall behind,” Mr. Johnston said.
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Canada welcomes first immigrants under new Federal Skilled Trades Program

Calgary is the largest metropolis in the Calga...
Calgary is the largest metropolis in the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor and in the province of Alberta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Toronto, August 16, 2013 — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today officially welcomed one of the first permanent residents under the new Federal Skilled Trades Program: Eric Byrne, originally from Ireland.
Our Government remains focused on job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Alexander. “The new Federal Skilled Trades Program enables us to attract and retain skilled workers—like Eric—so we can address regional labour shortages and strengthen Canada’s economy. It gives me great pleasure to personally welcome one of Canada’s first successful immigrants through our Skilled Trades stream.
Eric Byrne received his Ontario trades certificate of qualification in May 2012 and currently works as a plumber for University Plumbing and Heating. He first arrived in Canada through the International Experience Canada program, which provides opportunities for international youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in Canada. 
Canada is a great country and the people here have been exceptionally warm and welcoming,” said Eric Byrne. “I am very pleased that I qualified for the Federal Skilled Trades Program as it recognizes the value of my skill set and has allowed me to stay in Canada and integrate seamlessly into my new status as a permanent resident.
At the same time today in Calgary, Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney welcomed another successful applicant of the Federal Skilled Trades Program. New permanent resident Paul Lyttle has been working as an electrician for Calgary-based Unitech Electrical Contracting Inc. since June 2012.
The new Federal Skilled Trades Program is a significant improvement to Canada’s immigration system which, for too long, had not been open to in-demand skilled workers,” said Minister Kenney. “Immigrants like Paul are set for success and I am pleased that this new Program will enable him, and others like him, to contribute skills to our economy on a permanent basis.
Relocating to Canada was the right decision for me, both personally and professionally,” said Paul Lyttle. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to stay here in Canada permanently and can now start making long-term plans.
To date, successful applicants under the Federal Skilled Trades Program have originated from different countries including India, Lithuania, Latvia and Germany, in addition to Ireland.
The Government of Canada launched the Federal Skilled Trades Program in January 2013 to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespeople who meet Canada’s current and evolving economic needs. Skilled tradespeople are assessed on relevant criteria, such as language ability, practical training and work experience rather than formal academic education. The Program was also created in response to requests from Canadian employers for skilled workers to fill labour shortages, particularly in the natural resources and construction sectors. In order to attract and retain qualified, in-demand candidates, the goal is to process applications as quickly as possible. Eric Byrne’s application was processed in only three months, while Paul Lyttle’s was finalized in four months.
From an industry perspective, we are elated that the first ones of what we hope will be many new skilled trade professionals have been admitted to Canada under the Federal Skilled Trades Program,” said Mr. Michael Atkinson, President of the Canadian Construction Association. “This new Program responds directly to industry requests for a faster and more effective immigration program focused specifically on skilled trade professionals who are in short supply across Canada.
The Federal Skilled Trades Program, along with other recent transformational changes to economic immigration programs, supports Economic Action Plan 2013 by building a fast and flexible immigration system focused on Canada’s economic and labour market needs.
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Employment and Social Development Canada announces further changes to the LMO process -

Happy Canada Day!
Happy Canada Day! (Photo credit: Ian Muttoo)
As previously discussed, on April 29, 2013, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (“HRSDC”) and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced that they would be introducing numerous changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”). Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”), formerly known as HRSDC, has now announced changes to the Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) application process, which are effective as of July 31, 2013. Each of these changes is described below.
LMO application fee
Effective July 31, 2013, employers who submit LMO applications on behalf of Temporary Foreign Workers (“TFWs”) will be required to pay a processing fee of $275.00CAD for each position requested; prior to this date, no fee applied to the filing of an LMO application. However, this LMO processing fee will not apply to positions under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (“SAWP”), the Agriculture Stream, or on-farm primary agricultural positions listed under National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) Codes 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, 8256, 8431, 8432 and 8611.
Employers must now complete the LMO application and the processing fee payment form, and submit both items along with the required processing fee payment. The total payment must reflect the number of TFW positions requested on the LMO application. The processing fee payment (in Canadian dollars) can be made by:
  • Certified cheque (payable to the Receiver General for Canada);
  • Money order (postal or bank)
  • Visa;
  • MasterCard; or
  • American Express.
Employers and third-party representatives may not attempt to recover the LMO processing fees from the TFWs who are the beneficiaries of the LMO application.
ESDC must receive the entire processing fee along with the required documents before it will assess the employer’s LMO application. LMO applications received prior to July 31, 2013 will not be subject to the new processing fee. However, applications received with a postmark dated July 31, 2013 (or later) without the processing fee will not be assessed.
There will be no refund in the event of a negative LMO or if the application is withdrawn or cancelled since the fee covers the process to assess an application and not the outcome. Refunds will only be available if a fee was collected in error (i.e. an incorrect fee amount was processed).
Language restrictions
Effective July 31, 2013, amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (SOR/2002-227) came into force. As a result of these amendments, English and French are now the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement, both in LMO requests and in advertisements by employers applying to hire TFWs, unless employers can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job. However, the language restriction does not apply to positions under the SAWP, the Agriculture Stream, or on-farm primary agricultural positions listed under NOC Codes 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, 8256, 8431, 8432 and 8611.
Advertising requirements are the primary mechanism used to ensure that Canadians are aware of employment opportunities and the language restriction will help ensure that Canadians are given every opportunity to apply for available jobs. The onus will be on employers to demonstrate that a language other than French or English is an essential requirement of the job.
Employers advertising a job for a position that legitimately requires a language other than English or French must clearly demonstrate, in writing, that the language requested is consistent with the regular activities of the job (i.e. a translation company hiring a translator to work in a language other than English or French, or a tour company catering to foreign tourists only in a non-official language).
ESDC staff will assess the employer’s rationale for requesting a language other than English or French in relation to the occupation and information included in the LMO application. It will issue a negative LMO if the rationale does not demonstrate that the requested non-official language is an essential requirement of the job.
New advertising requirements
As of July 31, 2013, ESDC has increased the minimum recruitment requirements that employers will need to follow when submitting an LMO application. However, the new advertising requirements will not apply to:
  • The Live-in Caregiver Program;
  • Positions related to on-farm primary agriculture (specifically under NOC Codes 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, 8256, 8431, 8432 and 8611);
  • The SAWP; or
  • The Agricultural Stream.
Employers must advertise available positions in Canada for at least four weeks before applying for an LMO; this requirement applies to all advertising methods. Previously, employers were only required to advertise for two weeks during the three months prior to the filing of the LMO application. In addition, for NOC 0 and A occupations, employers were permitted to conduct similar recruitment activities consistent with the practice within the occupation (with no minimum period specified), instead of advertising the position in the national Job Bank; the two week advertising period only applied if the employer chose to advertise in the national Job Bank.
Higher-skilled occupations
Under the new requirements, employers seeking to hire a TFW in a higher-skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, or B) must advertise:
  • On the national Job Bank or its provincial/territorial counterpart in British ColumbiaSaskatchewan, the Northwest TerritoriesQuebec or Newfoundland and Labrador:
    1. The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of four weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
    2. The advertisement must remain posted to actively seek qualified Canadians and permanent residents until the date that an LMO is issued.
  • Using two or more additional methods of recruitment consistent with the normal practice for the occupation:
    1. As a minimum, employers must choose one method that is national in scope, since people in higher-skilled positions are often mobile and willing to re-locate for work; and
    2. Employers can choose one or more recruitment methods among these: (i) print media (national or provincial/territorial newspapers, national journals, magazines with national coverage, specialized journals, professional associations magazines, newsletters, etc.); (ii) general employment websites (i.e.,,,, etc.); and (iii) specialized websites dedicated to specific occupation profiles (i.e. accounting, marketing, biotechnology, education, engineering, etc.).
    3. The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of four weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
Lower-skilled occupations
Under the new requirements, employers seeking to hire a TFW in a lower-skilled occupation (NOC C or D) must advertise:
  • On the national Job Bank or its provincial/territorial counterpart in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Quebec or Newfoundland and Labrador:
    1. The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of four weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
    2. The advertisement must remain posted to actively seek qualified Canadians and permanent residents until the date that an LMO is issued.
  • Using two or more additional methods of recruitment consistent with the normal practice for the occupation:
    1. Employers can choose 1 or more recruitment methods among these: (i) print media (local newspapers, job boards, youth magazines etc.); and (ii) general employment websites (,,, etc.).
    2. The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of four weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
  • Targeting underrepresented groups:
    1. Employers can: (i) try to recruit workers from local or provincial/territorial employment centres, service centres for Aboriginal youth, new immigrants and people with disabilities; (ii) offer bursaries to attract students or youth, pursue online recruitment strategies, or undertake ongoing advertising and interviews in order to maintain a pre-screened applicant pool.
Content of advertisement
The advertisement must include the following information:
  • Company operating name;
  • Business address;
  • Title of position;
  • Job duties (for each position, if advertising more than one vacancy);
  • Terms of employment (e.g. project based, permanent position);
  • Wage (refer to Wages, Working Conditions and Occupations tab to determine the established rate for the specific occupation and geographic area);
  • Benefits package being offered (if applicable);
  • Location of work (local area, city or town);
  • Contact information (telephone number, cell phone number, email address, fax number, or mailing address); and
  • Skills requirements:
    1. Education; and
    2. Work experience
Third-party representatives or recruiters can be the main contact for any job advertisements posted on behalf of the employer. However, the ad must be listed under the employer’s Canada Revenue Agency Business Number.
Proof of advertisement
Employers will be required to demonstrate that they meet the advertising requirements by providing proof of advertisement and the results of their efforts to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents (i.e. a copy of advertisement and information to support where, when and for how long the position was advertised). Records of the employers’ efforts should be kept for a minimum of 6 years. ESDC may request these documents in connection with future assessments.
New LMO application form
As of July 31, 2013, the new LMO application form includes additional questions that must be answered by the employer. These questions were added to help ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.
Henry J. Chang
Blaney McMurtry LLP
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