A Labour Market Impact Assessment, or LMIA, refers to a process that serves as proof that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is ready, willing and able to fill a specific position in Canada, and so the employer is allowed to hire a foreign worker. In order to prove this, employers must advertise the position for at least four weeks and potentially interview candidates who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Only then, and only if the business can prove that those interviewees did not fulfil the job description, may the business be given the green light to hire a foreign worker. The worker must apply for a Canadian work permit, supported by the LMIA, before beginning work in Canada. Not all work permit types require a LMIA to be issued; work permit streams that are LMIA-exempt come under the International Mobility Program.
This page refers to the LMIA process under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The TFWP is to be used only as a last resort for Canadian employers seeking to fill immediate, acute labour shortages in high-demand positions or for specific projects. The TFWP is not to be used as a business model.
To learn how the LMIA process works in conjunction with the Express Entry immigration selection system, please see our Express Entry page.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program
In order for many Canadian work permits to be issued, Canadian companies must first obtain authorization from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to provide an offer of employment to a foreign national.
Previously this authorization was known as a ‘Labour Market Opinion’, or ‘LMO’. However, in June 2014, ESDC introduced major reforms to the TFWP, and LMOs were re-named as “Labour Market Impact Assessments” (or LMIA). It was among a wide variety of changes to the program.
The Main Issue
ESDC was of the view some Canadian companies accessing the TFWP were not taking proper measures to recruit, hire and train Canadians for their vacant positions. This was the intended route before offering jobs to foreign workers. Therefore, the TFWP was overhauled to make Canadian employers more accountable.
What Has Changed
The TFWP was formerly divided into two categories: Higher-skilled workers and Lower-skilled workers.
Positions located in skill levels 0, A and B were placed in the Higher-skilled category. Positions located in skills levels C and D were placed in the Lower-skilled category. When applying, you simply needed to identify the position within the National Occupational Classification (NOC) Matrix, identify its skill level, and then lodge an application under the appropriate stream, either:
1) The Stream for Higher-Skilled Occupations
2) The Stream for Lower-Skilled Occupations
Each stream had its own special requirements. These specifically related to advertisements, travel costs for foreign workers, and the necessity to supply employment contracts.
These two categories still exist. However, there are now two sub-categories within each.
1) The Stream for Higher-Skilled Occupations — High-Wage Workers
2) The Stream for Higher-Skilled Occupations — Low-Wage Workers
3) The Stream for Lower-Skilled Occupations — High-Wage Workers
4) The Stream for Lower-Skilled Occupations — Low-Wage Workers
“Higher-Skilled Occupations” still relates to the skill levels located in NOC Skill Levels 0, A and B.
“Lower-Skilled Occupations” still relates to the skill levels located in NOC Skill Levels C and D.
Positions where the prevailing wage rate, as set by ESDC, is below the provincial/territorial median wage will be considered low-wage. Those positions where the prevailing wage is at or above the provincial/territorial median wage will be considered high-wage.
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$22.00|
|Prince Edward Island||$19.49|
Therefore, when assessing which stream to follow:
1) Identify the job title’s skill level within the NOC Matrix.
2) Assess whether it is considered Higher-Skilled or Lower-Skilled.
3) Go to www.jobbank.gc.ca and in the menu click on “By wages”.
4) Type the name or NOC code of the job title.
5) Locate the geographic location where the job is located.
6) Identify the “Median Wage” for that specific geographic location. This will be the “prevailing wage rate” for this specific area in this occupation.
7) Assess this prevailing wage rate against the provincial/territorial median wage listed in the chart above.
8) If the prevailing wage rate is below the provincial/territorial median wage, it is considered low-wage.
9) If the prevailing wage rate is at or above the provincial/territorial median wage rate, it is considered high-wage.