There are various ways to obtain temporary status in Canada. In terms of the traditional work permit there is much to be desired. The system is unnecessarily complicated - and creates unnecessary delay for both employers in need of workers and foreign workers trying to obtain employment in Canada.
The work permit is used for almost all foreign temporary workers: from live in caregivers (nannies), cooks and for IT professionals.
First the foreign worker (FW) needs a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO). To obtain a LMO, the employer must provide appropriate proof of advertisement, job offer and a completed foreign worker application to HRSDC. This takes about 4-6 weeks (at least in Alberta). Once HRSDC has verified the job offer, the LMO is sent to the FW.
Now the FW takes the LMO, completed Work permit application and supporting documentation (work experience letters, resumes etc) to the Canadian Embassy. An interview to assess the FW qualifications, experience, english ability, etc. is often required.
The discretion of the Immigration Officer is quite broad. Experience suggests that the likelihood of approval depends largely on the country of origin. Generally speaking European countries are easier source countries than India, Pakistan, Bangladesh - unless we're talking about IT professionals.
The discretion of the immigration officer is a problem. The criteria for assessment must be more objective so that evryone involved have a greater degree of certainty throughout the process.