LMIA: How to Get a Labour Market Impact Assessment

Last updated: 16 November 2022

CV LMIA How to Get a Labour Market Impact Assessment 2 v2

Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, an employer must first receive approval from the Canadian government before hiring a foreign national. This comes in the form of the Labour Market Impact Assessment. 

The purpose of the LMIA is to ensure the arrival of the foreign worker will not hurt workers in Canada. This comprehensive CanadaVisa page provides an overview of the LMIA process.

Please complete our contact form if you wish to schedule a free telephone consultation with a lawyer from the Cohen Immigration Law Firm.


Table of Contents

Overview

Canada operates the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) as a means to supplement its work force when there is no qualified worker in Canada to do a job. An employer looking to hire a foreign worker in Canada often needs to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to the Canadian government. The Canadian government employee reviewing the application must determine that the hiring of the foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market. Among other factors, it must be clear that no qualified Canadians were passed up in favour of the foreign worker, and that the foreign worker will be given a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards.

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 the median wage are considered high-wage. 

Generally speaking, all employers must provide evidence that they have attempted to find qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill job positions before turning to foreign workers. In addition, employers may be inspected for compliance with government regulations after their employee has begun working in Canada.

High-Wage Workers

Employers seeking to hire high-wage workers must submit transition plans along with their LMIA application to ensure that they are taking steps to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time. Proof of investment in skills training or hiring Canadian apprentices are examples of how employers can prove this. Alternatively, employers can demonstrate how they are assisting their high-skilled temporary foreign worker(s) in becoming Canadian permanent residents. If the employer is chosen for an inspection, or if they apply to renew their LMIA, they will be required to report on the progress of the transition plan that they have submitted.

The transition plans are designed to ensure that employers seeking foreign workers are fulfilling the purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). This entails that they are using the TFWP 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.

Median Hourly Wages by Province/Territory

Province/TerritoryMedian hourly wages effective as of April 30, 2022 (2019 Wage)

Alberta

$28.85

British Columbia

$26.44

Manitoba

$23.00

New Brunswick

$21.79

Newfoundland and Labrador

$24.29

Northwest Territories

$37.30

Nova Scotia

$22.00

Nunavut

$36.00

Ontario

$26.06

Prince Edward Island

$21.63

Quebec

$25.00

Saskatchewan

$25.96

Yukon

$32.00

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey 2019

Low-Wage Workers

Employers seeking to hire low-wage workers do not need to submit transition plans with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application. 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 20 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers.

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.

The TFWP 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 percent 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

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

  • 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.

NOC 2021OCCUPATION TITLE
72011Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
72013Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
72014
Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
72310
Carpenters
72020
Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
72021
Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
82010
Supervisors, logging and forestry
82020
Supervisors, mining and quarrying
82021Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
83110
Logging machinery operators
82030
Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
92010
Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
92011
Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
92013
Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
93100
Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
92100
Power engineers and power systems operators
92101
Water and waste treatment plant operators
72100
Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
72102
Sheet metal workers
72104
Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
72105
Ironworkers
72106
Welders and related machine operators
72200
Electricians (except industrial and power systems)
72201
Industrial electricians
72202
Power system electricians
72203
Electrical power line and cable workers
72204
Telecommunications line and cable workers
72205
Telecommunications installation and repair workers
72300
Plumbers
72301
Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
72302
Gas fitters
72400
Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
72401
Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
72402
Heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning mechanics
72403
Railway carmen/women
72404
Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
72406
Elevator constructors and mechanics
72500
Crane operators
73402
Drillers and blasters - surface, mining, quarrying and construction
73402
Water well drillers
83100Underground production and development miners
83101
Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
93101Petroleum, 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 indicates 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.

Province/Territory
Median hourly wages effective May 11, 2020 (2019 Wage)
Alberta
$52.20
British Columbia
$45.00
Manitoba
$43.27
New Brunswick
$39.90
Newfoundland and Labrador
$45.00
Northwest Territories
$59.52
Nova Scotia
$40.87
Nunavut
$58.00
Ontario
$48.08
Prince Edward Island
$38.46
Quebec
$44.23
Saskatchewan
$46.15
Yukon
$48.08

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2018 and 2019

  • Shortest-duration occupations

The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers requesting temporary foreign workers for a short duration, defined as 120 calendar days or less, in any occupation where the wage offered is at or above the provincial or territorial median wage. Positions falling under this category include those related to repairs or manufacturing equipment and warranty work.

After receiving a positive LMIA, the employer should send a copy to their identified foreign worker. The positive LMIA must be included in the worker’s application for a Temporary Work Permit.

A single LMIA can be issued for one or multiple employees. In the case of multiple employees, the LMIA will only be issued to employees who will be filling identical positions as identified by the Canadian National Occupation Classification.

There are several instances where an employer may be exempt from the requirement to secure a LMIA. For more information on LMIA Exemptions, please click here.

Advertising Requirements (Including Exemptions)

Employers wishing to hire a temporary foreign worker to Canada must pay a processing fee of CDN $1,000 for each request for a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

English and French are the only languages that can be put forth as job requirements, both for LMIAs and for job vacancy advertisements, unless the employer can prove that another language is otherwise required for the position.

In addition, employers must advertise all job vacancies across the Canadian job market for at least four weeks before applying for a LMIA. To this end, employers are required to prove that they have used at least two other recruitment methods in addition to having posted an advertisement on the Canada Job Bank. Employers must focus advertising efforts on groups of Canadians who are under-represented, such as First Nations or persons with disabilities.

Employers are required to attest to their awareness that they are prohibited from laying off or cutting the hours of Canadian workers working in the same position(s) as the temporary foreign worker(s) working at the company.

There are a number of variations to the aforementioned advertising requirements. Click here to learn more.

Quebec-specific Exemptions and Variations

This section will look at exemptions and variations to the LMIA process that are specific to the province of Quebec.

  • Work permits issued to holders of a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ)

A Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) is a document issued by the government of Quebec to individuals who have been approved for immigration to that province. Holders of a CSQ may work in Quebec without their employer needing to secure a LMIA. To learn more, visit this section of our CSQ page.

  • Facilitated list of occupations

Industry sectors experiencing high demand for labour are included on what is known as the list of facilitated LMIA occupations for Quebec. Employers in Quebec applying under the facilitated LMIA process are not required to provide proof of recruitment efforts.

  • Other workers

Foreign workers who do not fall into either of the above categories may have to apply for and obtain a Certificat d'Acceptation du Quebec (Certificate of Acceptance to Quebec, CAQ) and a temporary work permit before beginning their employment in Quebec.

About the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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