Lululemon is still waiting to hear back from Canadian Parliament House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance in regards to whether the company is exempt from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW).
In June 2016, the yoga activewear queen submitted a Pre-Budget Submission outlining why the TFW program does not fit the hiring structure and size of its talent base in Canada.
In the submission, Lululemon reported it has more than 100,000 employees globally, with 3,400 in Canada and 1,200 of them at its Vancouver office. The company explained, “In order to keep growing, our industry needs to continue to attract and retain top international talent, from specialized design roles to specialized technical product development and testing roles, and much more … In order to continue to grow as a Canadian success story, we require and will continue to require top experiences talent in the foreseeable future.”
Lululemon also mentioned its investment in training and education, “including partnerships with post-secondary institutions in our region to train aspirants for our industry.” However, the efforts simply aren’t enough. “Canada currently does not produce enough skilled, specialized experienced workers in our required areas to meet our demand.”
Many have taken the submission as a threat from the yoga giant that if it is not granted exemption, the company will move its headquarters elsewhere.
The submission conclusion field reads, “our growth and our ability to remain headquartered in Vancouver will require that the vertically integrated apparel industry be granted a similar LMIA transition plan exemption as the Film industry and academia.”
On October 20, News Vancouver reported The B.C. Federation of Labour said it’s “ridiculous” for the company to ask for exemption. However, at the same time the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, believes Lululemon should get its exemption. He was quoted saying he’s “very concerned” over the possibility of the company leaving.
Lululemon plans to grow its business from roughly $2 billion to $4 billion within the next five years. Whether that growth will boost Canadian infrastructure is yet to be determined.
Read Lululemon’s full submission to Parliament here.