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Canada’s New Global Skills Visa Program: Important Note About Employee Health Insurance

There is a shortage of tech talent in Canada, especially in cities like Toronto. To address this, the Canadian government launched the global skills visa program to allow Canadian companies to bring in foreign workers within two weeks.

Up until this program launched, it would take up to a year to bring a foreign worker to Canada. Companies explain that the process is onerous and bureaucratic and can cause them to lose the opportunity to hire the individuals they want.

The new two-year pilot program designed to help Canadian employers attract the world’s best and brightest officially started on June 12th, 2017.

The Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) executive director, Benjamin Bergen, explains that: “With so few people within Canada with experience in scaling companies from the millions to billions, this new process will help domestic companies attract and hire top-notch talent.” He believes that growth will ultimately lead to more jobs for Canadians.

Here are some of the key highlights of the global skills visa program:

  • High-growth Canadian companies that need to access global talent in order to grow, as well as global companies that are investing in, or relocating to, Canada and will be creating new Canadian jobs can apply.
  • It costs $1,000 per position, plus the cost of the visas.
  • Employers can contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as soon as a foreign candidate is identified, and then get personalized help with completing the Labour Market Benefit Plan and Labour Market Impact Assessment.
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has set a two-week processing time that it expects to meet at least 80 per cent of the time.

If you’re planning to take advantage of the global skills visa program, there are a few important facts pertaining to employee health insurance that you need to know:

  • Your foreign staff will have to wait three months for their provincial health insurance coverage to kick in. Each Canadian province has its own provincial health insurance plan. In Ontario, it’s called OHIP.
  • Your foreign staff cannot be added to your employee benefits plan until their provincial health insurance plan (OHIP, for example) or a replacement plan are in place.
  • If alternative coverage has not been arranged for your foreign employee, any standard or emergency medical care and prescriptions they require will have to be paid for out-of-pocket.

We can help you put a temporary health insurance plan in place for the talent you bring on through the global skills visa program. Talk to us today!