What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment?

In most cases, a Canadian employer wishing to hire a foreign worker must first receive government approval before the hiring can take place.

This comes in the form of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to evaluate the impact of hiring a foreign national in Canada. If the LMIA result is positive, it means that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to take that position, allowing the employer to hire a foreign national. On the other hand, if the result is negative, it means that a Canadian citizen or permanent resident should be given the opportunity to fill that position.

LMIA Application Requirements

  • Processing Fee: All applications for LMIA require a processing fee of $1000 CAD, which is non-refundable even if the result is negative. However, some applicants under the LMIA for in-home caregivers may be exempt from this fee.
  • Business Legitimacy Documents: Documents proving the employer’s status as a legitimate Canadian business.
  • Transition Plan: Employers must submit a plan for how they intend to address the need to hire foreign nationals. Eventually, employers are expected to hire Canadian citizens and permanent residents rather than TFWs.
  • Recruitment Efforts: Employers must provide evidence of their efforts to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents before hiring a TFW.
  • Wages: TFWs’ wages must be included in applications, differentiating high-wage from low-wage positions. This ensures that TFWs receive the same pay as their Canadian counterparts.
  • Workplace Safety: Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) have the right to receive the same level of workplace health and safety standards as Canadian workers in equivalent positions. Therefore, it is mandatory for employers to provide proof that TFWs will be provided with insurance coverage that is at least equivalent to the health coverage offered by the province or territory where the business is located.

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 earn above the median hourly wage for a given occupation in a specified region.

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:

  • Cap on TFWs: 20% cap on the number of foreign workers in low-wage positions.
  • Transportation: Employers must provide low-wage workers with adequate transportation to and from Canada. This transportation is provided at the employer’s expense.
  • Housing: Low-wage workers must be provided with adequate housing for the duration of their employment in Canada.

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