Because of the hiring difficulties in many industries, some employers in the Wood Buffalo area have hired, or are considering hiring workers from outside Canada. The process is complex though, so it pays to do some research even before going this route.
Canadian workers first
An employer should be sure they have tried all other options within Canada, including groups that are traditionally under-employed. These groups could be immigrants already here, women (in certain occupations), Aboriginal people, youth, older workers or persons with disabilities. While targeting these groups may be more effort than traditional recruiting practices, it is less of an investment of time and money to stay within Canada when recruiting.
For information and tips on ways to hire within Canada, contact Melonie Loveless, business and industry liaison for Alberta Employment and Immigration in Fort McMurray (see contact information on page 4).
If an employer is unable to fill their vacancies in Canada, a viable choice is recruiting foreign workers. It will generally cost more money to go outside of Canada to recruit workers.
These costs will vary depending on the program used and the extent the employer wants to be involved in the process.
The Temporary Foreign Worker program is probably the most well known immigration program, but it may not be the best choice for every employer or every position that needs to be filled.
There are a few different choices for employers based on what kind of employee they are looking for (e.g. skilled, semi-skilled or low-skilled) and for how long they need someone (temporarily or permanently) and also how quickly. Processing times for different programs vary and can change weekly, so this may be a consideration in choosing which program to access. See Different staffing needs, different immigration programs on page 3.
An important consideration when hiring from outside of Canada is whether or not to use recruiting agencies. In order to work with an agency to bring workers into Alberta from outside Canada, the agency must be licensed in Alberta, regardless of whether they have offices here. Also, agencies cannot charge workers any fees—fees can only be charged to the employer.
Whether or not an employer is using an agency, they may consider visiting the countries themselves to conduct interviews.
At a recent foreign worker panel discussion in Edmonton, Barb Smyth, of Smitty’s Restaurant spoke of their experiences.
“Visiting the foreign country is worth far more that it will cost financially,” she says. “Your relationship with your staff will be much better if you take part in hiring.”
For more information on using employment agencies, visit: www.albertacanada.com/immigration/audience/employers-employment-agencies.html.
The information in this issue of Labour Market News was current as of the date shown. Employment outlook, salaries and educational programs may change. Please verify the information with additional sources before making career or business investment decisions. Contact us for more information.