Understanding the Global Talent Stream (GTS)
All Points Relocation Canada thought it was time to bring greater awareness to Canada’s Global Talent Stream. We have written about our advantage over the American immigration landscape in the past, but we thought that this program brought such an edge to Canada, people should understand it.
On June 12, 2017 the Global Talent Stream (GTS) was implemented as a fast-track option within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). This is a pilot project by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) intended to be initially run for a period of 24 months. The goal of this stream is to help Canadian employers hire necessary high-skilled foreign nationals, and fill in-demand highly-skilled positions in order to positively benefit the Canadian labour market.
The GTS is a streamlined Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application process, as the ESDC has already outlined the two categories of foreign workers that are needed in the Canadian labour market. Thus, there is no obligation for the standard LMIA recruitment/advertising period, saving employers time and costs.
There are two categories within the GTS – Category A and Category B – which cater to different types of high-skilled foreign workers. There are fundamental differences between some eligibility requirements of the two categories, however there are many general requirements that apply to both.
General GTS Requirements – Applicable to Categories A and B
As the GTS is a fast-track under the TFWP, prospective employers must comply with the TFWP requirements in order to be eligible for GTS processing. Also, the employer must adhere to certain general requirements concerning job duties and working conditions, workplace safety standards, language requirements, and employer compliance with applicable Canadian laws.
There is a processing fee of $1,000 for each position requested under the GTS, which is not refundable. This fee must be paid by the employer and cannot be recovered from the temporary foreign worker.
There is a business legitimacy assessment that all employers must undergo if they apply under the TFWP, and thus when applying under its GTS. The purpose of this assessment is to determine whether the employer is actively engaged in their business in Canada, and that the business provides services related to the job offer; that there is a reasonable employment need which is consistent with the job offer made; that the employer is reasonably able to fulfill the job terms listed in the job offer; and that the employer has been compliant with all relevant Federal and Provincial laws. Returning employers do not have to re-submit any documentation to support their reasonable ability to fulfill obligations and support their active engagement if they have had a positive assessment within the past two years, unless specifically requested. All Points Relocation Canada recommends that companies go through the business legitimacy assessment as soon as they know of a potential international recruit, if they have not already.
When hiring a temporary foreign worker, the employer must offer a wage similar to the wages paid to Canadian workers hired for the same job and work locations, possessing similar skills and experience. Specifically, the prevailing wage must be paid. The prevailing wage is defined as the highest of (a) the applicable minimum wage as identified in the Global Talent Occupations List (later in the article); (b) the wage that is within the wage range that the employer is paying current employees for the same job, work location and with the same skills and years of experience; (c) the median wage on Job Bank.
Labour Market Benefits Plan
Under the GTS the employer is required to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan (Plan), in partnership with the ESDC, which will help the Canadian Government track the benefits made to the Canadian economy through the employment of high-skilled global talent. There are mandatory benefits, complementary benefits, and activities for each benefit. The mandatory benefits differ depending on which category of the GTS the employer is applying under.
Under Category A, the mandatory benefit is that the employer must commit to creating jobs for Canadians, either directly or indirectly.
Under Category B, the mandatory benefit is that the employer must commit to increasing skills and training investments for Canadians.
For both categories (A and B) there is a requirement for complimentary benefits. However, the complimentary benefits identified in the employer’s Plan cannot be the same as the mandatory benefit. Complimentary benefits could include, but are not limited to job creation, investment in skills and training, transferring knowledge to Canadians, and enhanced company performance.
Each of the mandatory and complimentary benefits must be supported by at least one activity for each benefit, to be outlined in the Plan. Such activities could include but are not limited to increasing the number of Canadians employed full- or part-time by the employer; providing co-op or internship opportunities for Canadians at the firm; providing direct training to Canadians; and increasing growth of revenue, employment, or investment at the firm.
The progress of the Plan will be monitored by the ESDC at regular intervals to determine the employer’s continuing eligibility as well as assess the performance of the GTS. If the employer already has an approved Plan, submitting a new one with a new GTS application is not necessary, however, the existing Plan will be reviewed.
To be eligible for Category A of the GTS, the employer must satisfy two conditions: the employer had to have been referred to the GTS by one of the Stream’s designated partners; and, the employer is hiring unique and specialized talent.
Designated referral partners refer to the GTS eligible Canadian companies with whom they have existing relationships. The Canadian company must be legally established in Canada, have a focus on innovation, have a willingness to grow, and demonstrate a need to hire a unique and specialized foreign worker. There are currently twenty designated referral partners, among them government agencies, provincial ministries, professional associations and councils, and financial institutions including the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario; the Council of Canadian Innovators; ; the Government of Alberta, Alberta Labour; the BC Tech Association; the Business Development Bank of Canada.
Unique and specialized talent, for the purposes of the GTS, is indicated by four factors: (a) advanced knowledge of the industry; (b) advanced degree in an area of specialization of interest to the employer; and/or (c) minimum of five years of experience in the field of specialized experience; and (d) a highly paid position with a salary of usually $80,000 or more.
Since the basis of the program is that there are very few of these unique and specialized individuals globally, innovative firms that seek to hire through Category A of the GTS should be looking at hiring a very limited number of individuals to meet their talent needs. If a company is seeking a second referral under Category A, ESDC will require confirmation that the employer meets all eligibility criteria, and may request further information on the unique and specialized nature of the additional position(s) sought by the employer.
To be eligible for Category B of the GTS the employer must seek to hire high-skilled foreign workers for occupations outlined by the ESDC in their Global Talent Occupations List (below). This list is compiled by the ESDC using occupations currently deemed in-demand by the Canadian Government, having insufficient domestic labour supply. The occupations and wage requirements are subject to change.
Global Talent Occupations List
|Occupation||Minimum Wage Requirement|
|Computer and information systems managers||Prevailing wage|
|Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)||Prevailing wage|
|Information systems analysts and consultants||Prevailing wage|
|Database analysts and data administrators||Prevailing wage|
|Software engineers and designers||Prevailing wage|
|Computer programmers and interactive media developers||Prevailing wage|
|Web designers and developers||Prevailing Wage|
|Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians||$81,000 ($38.94/h) or higher prevailing wage|
|Information systems testing technicians||$78,000 ($37.50/h) or higher prevailing wage|
|Producer, technical, creative and artistic director and project manager – Visual effects and video game||$75,000 ($36.06/h) or higher prevailing wage|
|Digital media designers||$80,000 ($38.46/h) or higher prevailing wage|
The GTS and Quebec
In regards to the province of Quebec, there are different GTS referral partners and different wage floors for certain occupations, along with other differences in requirements.