The following guide is for jobs that require a positive LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) before applying for a Work Permit

In most cases, employers are required to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can hire foreign workers.

In order to obtain a positive LMIA, a Canadian employer must prove that there is no Canadian or permanent resident worker available to complete the job in question and a foreign worker is therefore required.


LMIA applications should show the following:

•    Efforts made to recruit available Canadian citizens/permanent residents

•    Wages offered for the position are consistent with the prevailing wage rate paid to Canadians/permanent residents in the same occupation in the region

•    Working conditions for the occupation meets the current provincial labour market standards

•    Any potential benefits that hiring a foreign worker might bring to the Canadian labour market, such as the creation of new jobs or the transfer of skills and knowledge

•    Transition plans will be required for high-wage positions whereby employers must demonstrate increased efforts to hire Canadians in the long-term.


The positive LMIA is provided to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which is typically issued for one year if granted.

LMIAs are overseen by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position applied for.

There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e.

skilled trades within top 10% of pay bracket and for positions that are less than 120 days.

The LMIA process is different depending on whether the targeted employee is classified as “high-wage” or “low-wage”.

Temporary foreign workers being paid under the provincial/territorial median wage are considered low-wage, while those being paid at or above are considered high-wage.

Depending on whether a prospective employee is classified as high-wage or low-wage, certain specific provisions apply.


High-Wage Workers

Employers seeking to hire high-wage workers must submit transition plans along with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to ensure that they are taking steps to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time.

High-wage workers are those earning above the median hourly wage for a given occupation in specified region.

The transition plans are designed to ensure that employers seeking foreign workers are fulfilling the purpose of the program.

This entails that they are using the program as a last and limited resort to address immediate labour needs on a temporary basis when qualified Canadians are not available, ensuring that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.

Certain occupations in Quebec are "facilitated", meaning that local recruitment efforts do not need to be performed by employers as part of their applications to hire temporary foreign workers for any of the facilitated occupations.


Low-Wage Workers

Employers seeking to hire low-wage workers do not need to submit transition plans with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

They must, however, follow a different set of guidelines.

To restrict access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), while ensuring that Canadians are always considered first for available jobs, the Government of Canada has introduced a cap to limit the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that a business can employ. Furthermore, certain low-wage occupations may be refused for LMIA processing. Employers with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA are subject to a cap of 10 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers.

This cap will be phased in over 2015 and 2016 in order to provide employers who are above the 10 percent cap time to transition and adjust accordingly.


Employers offering a wage that is below the provincial/territorial median hourly wage must:

•    pay for round-trip transportation for the temporary foreign worker;

•    ensure affordable housing is available;

•    pay for private health insurance until workers are eligible for provincial health coverage;

•    register the temporary foreign worker with the provincial/territorial workplace safety board; and

•    provide an employer-employee contract.


As of April 30, 2015, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program uses the latest Labour Force Survey results for the unemployment rates in regions across Canada.

These rates determine which regions are eligible for employers to submit Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) for low-wage/lower skilled occupations in the Accommodation and Food Services sector and the Retail Trade sector.

LMIA applications for these sectors will not be processed in economic regions where the unemployment rate is 6 per cent or higher.

Given its unique labour market conditions, and as requested by the Government of the Northwest Territories, applications in these sectors for positions located in Yellowknife will be accepted for processing.


Expediting an LMIA

LMIAs will be provided within a 10-business-day service standard for workers in the following occupational categories:

•    Highest-demand occupations

•    Highest-paid occupations

•    Shortest-duration occupations


Highest-demand occupations

The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to skilled trades positions where the wage offered is at or above the provincial/territorial median wage.

These positions are essential to the development of major infrastructure and natural resource extraction projects, and are therefore considered vital to Canadian economic growth.

7202    Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
7204    Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
7205    Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
7271    Carpenters
7301    Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
7302    Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
8211    Supervisors, logging and forestry
8221    Supervisors, mining and quarrying
8222    Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
8241    Logging machinery operators
8252    Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
9211    Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
9212    Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
9214    Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
9231    Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
9241    Power engineers and power systems operators
9243    Water and waste treatment plant operators
7231    Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
7233    Sheet metal workers
7235    Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
7236    Ironworkers
7237    Welders and related machine operators
7241    Electricians (except industrial and power system)
7242    Industrial electricians
7243    Power system electricians
7244    Electrical power line and cable workers
7245    Telecommunications line and cable workers
7246    Telecommunications installation and repair workers
7251    Plumbers
7252    Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
7253    Gas fitters
7311    Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
7312    Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
7313    Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
7314    Railway carmen/women
7315    Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
7318    Elevator constructors and mechanics
7371    Crane operators
7372    Drillers and blasters - surface, mining, quarrying and construction
7373    Water well drillers
8231    Underground production and development miners
8232    Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
9232    Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators


Highest-paid occupations

The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers hiring temporary foreign workers in the highest-paid occupations that offer wages in the top 10 percent of wages earned by Canadians in a given province or territory where the job is located.

This wage level indicated that a temporary foreign worker is the highest-skilled in their occupation, and that those skills are difficult to find in the Canadian labour market.



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