Temporary Foreign Worker Program
The Western Canadian Ski Industry utilizes the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program to complement its Canadian workforce. This program is critically important to the economic viability of our industry, given acute labour shortages for certain seasonal positions. Over a typical ski season, our members hire approximately 500 Temporary Foreign Workers, representing a very small percentage of our total workforce. Approximately 80% of our TFW’s are Snowsports Instructors (NOC 5254). These Snowsports Instructors play a key role in promoting safe and enjoyable skiing & boarding, thus growing the sport and future business. They also bring new clients to their resorts and provide much needed instruction in foreign languages. Without access to the TFW Program, many ski areas would be forced to shut down or scale back their snowsports schools. Clearly, such a scenario would be highly problematic from both a business and safety perspective.
On July 31, 2013, the Federal Government implemented a $275 processing fee for each Labour Market Opinion (LMO), and indicated that this was required to cover the administrative costs of the TFW Program. This fee represented a significant additional financial burden on the Western Canadian Ski Industry, at a time when over one third of our members were experiencing financial losses. Accordingly, on June 20, 2014, our members were stunned to learn that the government was increasing this fee to $1,000. Effectively, this represented a $500,000 fee increase on an industry in which many operators are struggling to break even. It is particularly frustrating to our industry that it is being hit with exorbitant fee increases while other industries that utilize seasonal TFW’s (e.g. on-farm primary agriculture) continue to be exempt from these fees.