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Canada and Yukon sign agreement on Temporary Foreign Workers

Whitehorse, February 23, 2011 — The Governments of Canada and Yukon have signed an agreement that gives Yukon a role in managing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program within the Territory.

Senator Daniel Lang made the announcement today with Patrick Rouble, Yukon Minister of Education and Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. Senator Lang spoke on behalf of Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

“The Government of Yukon has a role to play in protecting temporary foreign workers from exploitation and in identifying how immigration can help address gaps in its labour market,” said Senator Lang. “This agreement formally recognizes these roles.”

The agreement will improve the responsiveness of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by providing Yukon with a greater role in helping these workers come to Canada. The Government of Yukon will be able to recommend the entry of some temporary foreign workers without requiring a Service Canada assessment of whether there are Canadians or permanent residents available to fill the vacant positions. Such exemptions will be determined according to criteria to be set by the territorial government, in line with its economic plans and priorities.

“This agreement provides one more tool for Yukon’s labour market stakeholders to address Yukon’s labour market opportunities, both now and into the future,” said Minister Rouble. “Our first priority is to work with underrepresented groups in Yukon to meet labour force demands and turn to temporary foreign workers when the need arises.”

“Today marks an important step in making the Temporary Foreign Worker Program more responsive to Yukon’s particular labour needs. Meeting those needs translates into more opportunities for all Yukon residents,” the Senator added.

The agreement provides a framework for closer cooperation between the two levels of government to better educate employers and potential workers about their rights and responsibilities.

A number of innovative pilot initiatives are also planned as part of the agreement. These initiatives are designed to respond to region-specific issues concerning temporary foreign workers, and are aligned with the economic and social development priorities of Yukon.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is driven by employer demand and aimed at filling identified labour shortages where no suitable Canadian workers or permanent residents are available.