Royal Bank has promised it will never outsource a Canadian job to a foreign worker solely to save money.

The bank updated its code of conduct on Friday, after facing intense criticism last month for its hiring policies.

In a story first reported by CBC News, the bank was criticized heavily for laying off a number of IT workers in order to replace them with cheaper foreign workers.

"As part of its supplier review, RBC looked at the types of work the bank will and will not outsource to suppliers that execute all or part of the work offshore to ensure suppliers support RBC's focus on creating Canadian jobs and prosperity," the bank said in a statement Friday.

'Superior skill sets'

Specifically, the bank says it will only offshore work to suppliers "when their investment in scale, technology or operational knowledge provides superior skill sets and capabilities that RBC cannot duplicate inside its own business or in Canada."

"RBC will not offshore work where salary savings is the primary reason and will make every effort to source in Canada," the bank says.

The bank notes that all of its call centres are located in Canada, despite the trend in many industries to offshore them.

The bank faced harsh criticism for taking advantage of a government program known as the temporary foreign workers program, which is aimed at filling labour needs where suitably skilled Canadian workers can't be found for any given job. 

The bank says it has used the program "on a very limited basis for executives and for workers with highly specialized skills," but in the new code of conduct, the bank says it will not use what it called the "low skills workers" program to fill jobs in Canada.

The B.C. Federation of Labour said it welcomed the bank's move.

"RBC has recognized that Canadians expect Canada's banks to provide good, family-supporting jobs in Canada," said federation president Jim Sinclair.

The federation said that following the initial reports of the outsourcing, the province's labour movement threatened to withdraw more than $5 billion in union and pension funds on deposit with the bank.

The federation also said it will continue discussion with the bank on the establishment of an independent monitor to review implementation of the new code of conduct.