This is a follow-up to my memorandum dated November 19, 2001 (PDAD&C #30) concerning the revised HRDC and immigration procedures.
The Ontario regional officials from HRDC held briefings for Ontario university representatives concerning the new policy on foreign academic recruitment.
Some questions raised as to the meaning and functioning of the Canadians-first rule. Specific questions whether or not the rule meant that Canadian applicants had to be interviewed in every case, and what would happen if a Canadian were adequately qualified for a position, but a foreign applicant was clearly superior.
The following summary was provided by an AUCC representative who attended one of the briefings concerning the issues that were raised by Ontario university representatives and the advice provided by HRDC.
- Advertisements should be as specific as possible with regard to qualifications. For example, if, based on previous experience, the university knows it will not consider candidates for a position unless they have ten years of teaching experience, that requirement should be spelled out in the advertisement. As well, universities should make greater use of phrases like "demonstrable excellence" in teaching or research (for example) to establish the qualifications for the position.
- Not all individuals who meet the minimum advertised qualifications need to be placed on a short list to be interviewed. However, they will have to be placed in a pool from which a short list will be derived. Universities should be ready to document and justify the way in which the short list is developed.
- During the selection process, hiring committees may consider candidates' "personal suitability", which includes assessing the ability of candidates to work well with colleagues.
- Universities will remain obliged to respect any collective agreement provisions that have an impact on foreign recruitment and hiring.
- Universities will remain subject to the internal grievance procedures already established. It was suggested that hiring committees that follow established procedures to avoid grievances in hiring decisions (i.e. following clearly-established standards and carefully documenting all decisions taken) should have little difficulty in obtaining HRDC validations for job offers to foreign academics.
- Universities are subject to reporting requirements. Where a university wishes to tender an offer to a foreign academic, a form will have to be provided to HRDC providing the reason for the job offer, as well as a brief summary outlining the rationale for not hiring the top three Canadians who applied for the position. There is also a requirement for annual aggregate reports to HRDC, on the total number of academics hired, including the number of foreign academics.