The legislation requires that a benefits plan contain provisions intended to ensure that, while respecting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, qualified individuals resident in the province shall be given first consideration for training and employment in the work program for which the plan was submitted.
The C-NLOPB defines a Newfoundland and Labrador resident as a Canadian citizen (or permanent resident) who meets the residency requirements of the Province as defined by the Elections Act, 1991 (i.e., principal residence is in the Province).
The “first consideration” provision of the legislation clearly requires that the Operator and its contractors look first to the Newfoundland and Labrador labour market to meet their human resource requirements.
Employers have the right to establish, in advance of the recruitment process, the qualifications, experience and competencies required of candidates for employment. However, the first consideration obligation means that once the requirements for a position have been established, a Newfoundland and Labrador resident who meets these requirements must be given employment preference over non-residents.
Prior to the construction phase of any major development, employment plans for the Operator and each major contractor are required to be submitted to the C-NLOPB, identifying key positions to be filled by Operator/contractor personnel, and other positions to be filled by qualified Newfoundland and Labrador and other Canadian residents, subject to availability at the time of hire. Such plans should also include strategies, where applicable, for succession of qualified residents of the Province, and other Canadians, to any positions held initially by non-Canadians.
For the operations phase of any major development, a human resources plan must be submitted by the Operator detailing employment strategies for the Operator and main contractors. These plans should also include strategies, where applicable, for succession of qualified residents of the Province, and other Canadians, to any positions held initially by non-Canadians.
Where an Operator is a party to a collective agreement, paragraph 45(3)(b) of the Accord Acts requires such agreements to include first consideration for employment and training.
During the hiring process for importation of new vessels and installations into the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area, the C-NLOPB will review the proposed crew complement and the employer’s attempts to hire available and qualified Newfoundland and Labrador and other Canadian residents. A plan may also be required that will include strategies for the succession of available qualified residents of the Province, and other Canadians, to any positions held initially by foreign residents.
The C-NLOPB reviews vessel crew rosters to identify the level of foreign crew and to identify opportunities for replacement of foreign crew with Newfoundland and Labrador and other Canadian crew members. The C-NLOPB does not approve employers’ hiring of temporary foreign workers; Canada Border Services Agency approves temporary foreign workers to work in Canada and grants work permits. The decision to grant a work permit may be supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment issued by Service Canada; however, not all work visas require a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
In practice, the C-NLOPB considers the broad numbers of Newfoundland and Labrador, other Canadian, and foreign employment and looks for reasonableness in the overall level of Newfoundland and Labrador resident employment, for succession plans for replacement of foreign workers, and requires employers to consider training and mentoring opportunities to prepare residents of the province for future opportunities. The C-NLOPB takes a high-level, long-term view of foreign worker hiring, and accepts that some positions may be occupied by foreign workers, particularly in senior management, subject matter experts, specialized vessel crews, or in construction project management.
Operators provide regular quarterly and annual reports to the C-NLOPB on employment levels and are responsible for ensuring that they and their contractors meet the commitments of their approved benefits plan.