On March 8, 2018, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, joined representatives from ten other member countries to sign the historic Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”). The CPTPP will be comprised of 11 member countries including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, to form one of the largest free-trade agreements in the world.
Upon entry into force, the CPTPP should provide employers with less restrictive immigration options, and enable faster and more predictable movement of skilled labour. We anticipate that following the coming into force of the CPTPP, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will publish program delivery guidelines to clarify the practical application of the CPTPP’s immigration provisions.
The CPTPP sets out Canada’s commitments in Article 12.4 (Grant of Temporary Entry) pertaining to the temporary entry of business persons, as follows:
1. Business Visitors
Similar to existing Free Trade Agreements (“FTAs”), the business visitor category will permit the temporary entry of business visitors for up to six months provided their primary source of remuneration for the proposed business activity, as well as the place of business and accrual of profits, is outside Canada. This category includes business visitors seeking to engage in one of the following business activities:
– Meetings and Consultations
– Research and Design
– Manufacture and Production
– After-Sales or After-Lease Service
– General Service including managerial/supervisory and financial services personnel engaging in commercial transactions, tourism, personnel attending conventions/conducting tours, and translation services.
2. Intra-corporate Transferees
Similar to existing FTAs, the intra-corporate transferee category will permit the temporary entry of business persons currently employed by an enterprise and with one year of experience with that company within the three-year period immediately preceding the date of application for admission to Canada. This category includes business persons, in specific countries, employed in the capacity of:
– Executive – business person who directs the management, establishes goals and policies, exercises decision-making authority of the organisation or a major component or function of the organisation.
– Manager – business person who directs the organisation or a department or subdivision of the organisation, supervises and controls the work of others, has authority to hire and fire personnel, and exercises discretionary authority over the day-to-day operations.
– Specialist – employee possessing specialised knowledge of the company’s products or services and their application in international markets, or an advanced level of expertise or knowledge of the company’s processes and procedures.
– Management Trainee on Professional Development – employee with a post-secondary degree who is on a temporary work assignment intended to broaden the employee’s knowledge of and experience in a company in preparation for a senior leadership position within the company.
As this provision does not require that intra-corporate transferee specialists meet a prevailing wage requirement, employers may wish to rely on the CPTPP provisions rather than the general provisions if applicable to the foreign worker.
Similar to existing FTAs, the investor category will permit the temporary entry of business persons seeking to establish, develop or administer an investment to which the business person or business person’s enterprise has committed, or is in the process of committing, a substantial amount of capital, in a capacity that is supervisory, executive or involves essential skills.
This category will permit the temporary entry of business persons engaged in a country-specific specialty occupation (NOC levels O, A and B) as a Professional or Technician.
The CPTPP defines Professionals as persons who possess the following:
(a) theoretical and practical application of a body of specialised knowledge; and
(b) a post-secondary degree of four or more years of study, unless otherwise provided in this schedule, as well as any other minimum requirements for entry defined in the NOC, and
(c) two years of paid work experience in the sector of activity of the contract, and
(d) remuneration at a level commensurate with other similarly-qualified professionals within the industry in the region where the work is performed (excluding non-monetary elements such as, but not limited to, housing costs and travel expenses).
Technicians are defined as persons who possess these attributes:
(a) theoretical and practical application of a body of specialised knowledge, and
(b) a post-secondary or technical degree requiring two or more years of study as a minimum for entry into the occupation, unless otherwise provided in this Schedule, as well as any other minimum requirements for entry defined in the NOC, and
(c) four years of paid work experience in the sector of activity of the contract, and
(d) remuneration at a level commensurate with other similarly-qualified technicians within the industry in the region where the work is performed (excluding non-monetary elements such as, but not limited to, housing costs and travel expenses).
Employers may note that, unlike other work permit categories under FTAs such as the NAFTA, Professionals/Technicians under the CPTPP must meet a wage requirement, which is yet to be defined. The category also specifies that previous work experience must be paid, which precludes the possibility of including work experience gained on certain unpaid internships or on the job training.
Upon entering into force, the CPTPP will provide Canadian employers with new options for foreign nationals from CPTPP member countries in certain professions, in addition to highly skilled technicians, intra-corporate transferees, investors, and business visitors. This will improve the predictability of the import of skilled labour, and facilitate workforce planning for employers with foreign or mobile workforces.
For more information on the CPTPP or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP.