Labour Market Impact Assessment

Except certain cases, a Canadian employer looking to hire a foreign worker must first obtain a government approval before the hiring can happen. This approval is called the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The approval is issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion) is required in most cases for a Canadian employer to hire foreign workers to come to Canada. An LMIA can be positive as well as negative, depending on the conclusion of the ESDC officer who is reviewing the employer’s LMIA application. ESDC stands for Employment and Social Development Canada – the government department responsible for employment and related social development factors in Canada. To receive a positive LMIA, the ESDC officer must be satisfied with the application in that:

  • No Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available to perform the job for which the employer is hiring the foreign worker/professional;
  • The employer has provided proof for local hiring efforts (like advertisements) wherein the employer could not find the worker or professional locally;
  • The hiring of the foreign worker will create a positive (or neutral) impact on the Canadian labor market;
  • The foreign worker, once hired, will be given wages and other benefits meeting federal as well as provincial standards.

Once an employer receives a positive LMIA, the hiring process can be initiated. Employers must take note that even after a positive LMIA and subsequent hiring, they may be inspected by the government to ensure compliance with applicable sections of the regulation.

Note: If you are an employer from Canada’s Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Prince Edward Island), you can now hire foreign workers and professionals without having the need to obtain an LMIA through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP). To know more, click here.

Skip to the relevant section by clicking selecting the applicable options below:

  • High-wage LMIA
  • Low-wage LMIA
  • Quebec LMIA
  • Median hourly wages chart

Depending on the wage being offered to the worker, LMIAs are categorized into two:

High-Wage LMIA

Canadian employers looking to hire foreign workers under the high wage category need to submit a “transition plan” along with their LMIA application. Workers and professionals whose hourly wage is more than the median hourly wage for a specific occupation in a specific area or region are considered as high wage. This is to ensure that the employer is looking to hire the foreign worker only because no Canadian citizen or permanent resident was available to perform the job, and that the employer gives priority to Canadian citizens and/or permanent resident when hiring for the position under consideration now and in the future.

Note: If you are an employer in Quebec looking to hire managers or skilled workers (Skill level 0, A, and B), then certain occupations fall under the “facilitated” category. To know more, click here.

Low-Wage LMIA

Canadian employers looking to hire foreign workers under the low-wage category is exempt from the requirement of submitting a transition plan along with their LMIA application. Workers and professionals whose hourly wage is less than the median hourly wage for a specific occupation in a specific area or region are considered as low wage. Though the employers are exempt from the transition plan requirement, they will need to comply with other criteria, including:

  • Employers employing 10 employees or more, are not allowed to hire more than 10% of their workforce under the low-wage category;
  • Employer must ensure affordable housing is available;
  • The employer must register the employee(s) with the local Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB);
  • The employer must provide a written offer letter to the employee(s);
  • The employer must pay for private health insurance until the employee(s)/worker(s) are eligible to apply for provincial or territorial health coverage;
  • The employer must pay for round-trip transportation.

Quebec LMIA

Whilst an LMIA is required, certain categories of occupations are exempted from the LMIA advertising requirements in Quebec. These are known as “facilitated” LMIAs. Occupations that fall under the high-skilled category are eligible for facilitated LMIA. They are:

  • Managerial occupations (NOC Skill Level 0)
  • Professional occupations (NOC Skill Level A)
  • Technical occupations (NOC Skill Level B)

Also, under the facilitated LMIA process in Quebec, the “transition plan”, which is by default a mandatory requirement for all high wage employments is waived off when the LMIA is applied for a candidate’s hiring for the first time. However, the transition plan is required if an LMIA is required for the 2nd time onwards for the candidate (if applying for the same occupation).

To learn more about Quebec LMIA, click here.

Median Hourly Wages Chart

Province or Territory Wage (C$ per hour, as of 29 April 2017)
Alberta 25.89
British Columbia 22.5
Manitoba 20
New Brunswick 18.9
Newfoundland and Labrador 20.31
Northwest Territories 32.25
Nova Scotia 19.49
Nunavut 30
Ontario 22.12
Prince Edward Island 18.44
Quebec 21
Saskatchewan 23.6
Yukon 28

 

Source: https://www.statcan.gc.ca

 

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