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Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Updated: May 16th, 2023

Nearly 80% of immigrants who move to Canada and receive permanent residency find employment, but what of those seeking temporary employment? According to Statistics Canada, there are over 500,000 temporary foreign workers in Canada, predominantly finding employment in crop and animal production, accommodation and service industries, manufacturing and clothing sectors, entertainment and recreation, the arts, and private households.

Programs allowing foreigners to temporarily live and work in Canada require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). 

Some foreign workers are exempt from needing an LMIA Canada. However, all streams that fall under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) require LMIAs, as well as some other immigration programs which will allow applicants to claim points for having a job in Canada. 

What Is LMIA in Canada?

What Is LMIA?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to assess the effects hiring international workers will have in Canada. The ESDC's main aim is to ensure that all Canadians have a higher quality of life by endorsing a highly-skilled, efficient, and inclusive workforce to boost Canada's labor market.  

Once the ESDC has assessed whether or not it is viable to hire an international worker, there will either be a positive or negative outcome.

Your employer could get a positive LMIA, meaning that an employer could not fill a particular job in Canada with a Canadian or a permanent resident suitable for the position.

However your employer could get a negative LMIA, meaning shows that sufficient Canadian or permanent resident candidates are eligible to fill the vacant job position.

Do I Need an LMIA Canada?

Do I Need an LMIA?

What is an LMIA Exemption?

An LMIA exemption is when a Canadian employer does not need to apply for an LMIA when hiring a foreign worker. These are usually indexed and arranged through the International Mobility Program. 

What is the International Mobility Program?

The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers without an LMIA under various programs. Unlike the TFWP, the IMP was designed to help foreign workers find their way to Canada to improve economic and cultural development in a much broader sense. 

Employers will need to meet the following requirements to hire foreign workers through the IMP:

  • Prove that the job or worker meets the requirements for LMIA exemption;
  • Pay the compliance fee; and
  • Submit an official job offer via the IMP Employer Portal.

Open Work Permits

Certain work programs do not require an LMIA meaning they allow you to work for any employer in Canada and only require an open work permit. These programs include:

  • Post Graduation Work Permit Program;
  • International Experience Canada (IEC);
  • Inland Spousal Or Common-law Sponsorship Program; and
  • Bridging Open Work Permit.

Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream was designed to help bring highly skilled and specialized talent to Canada quickly through fast-tracked visa processing and boost Canada's labor market to compete on a global scale. As a result, employers hiring skilled workers under the GTS will automatically receive a positive LMIA. Employers will either need to apply through Category A, which requires being referred by a GTS partner, or through Category B, which requires that the position be filled to appear on the specified list of occupations.  

International Agreements

Canada also has agreements with specific countries that allow foreign workers to accept job offers without needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). These Free Trade Agreements include:

Canada Interest Exemptions

Canada also has a category whereby foreign nationals can fill jobs in Canada without an LMIA if it can be demonstrated to be a significant cultural or social benefit for Canadians. This will rely on the applicants' past successes, recommendations, and testimonials from those in a relevant field of expertise. 

Intra-Company Transfers

If the company you work for in your home country or outside of Canada wants to transfer you to a branch in Canada, you may also be exempt from an LMIA application. 

Humanitarian and Compassionate LMIA-Exemptions

Canada is one country that offers refuge to people who want to move to Canada and start a new life. In these exceptional cases, the government will review your application and could grant an LMIA exemption.

Facilitated LMIA - Quebec

Quebec has an immigration processing system that is different from the federal immigration processes, so it stands to reason that its LMIA processing procedure differs slightly. Quebec employers will need to adhere to the following guidelines:   

  • Apply in French except for In-Home Caregivers;
  • No job advertising requirements or proof of an attempt to hire a Canadian citizen or permanent resident is needed;
  • Only high demand where there are labor market shortages may be eligible; and
  • LMIA application must be approved by federal (ESDC) and provincial (Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI) authorities.

Ready to Get to Work?

Before starting your Canadian journey, knowing whether you will need an LMIA is essential. As outlined above, various programs and immigration categories are on offer for temporary foreign workers who are just as much an integral part of the development and growth of the Canadian economy as permanent residents and citizens are. 

Once your Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) has been approved and you have your official job offer, you must apply for your Canadian work permit. Requirements may differ slightly from program to program and if you are applying for work in the province of Quebec. 

How Do I Apply for an LMIA?

How Do I Apply for an LMIA?

The short answer is that you won't have to. The onus is on your prospective employer to request an LMIA full form at least six months before the start date of your contract. Employers will have different application procedures depending on your province or territory's median Wage. Low-wage positions will require more processes than high-wage positions.  

Below is a list of median wages in each Canadian province/territory, according to CIC News:

Median Hourly Wage by Province or Territory as of Feb 2023
Nunavut CAD 53.52
Northwest Territories CAD 52.61
Yukon CAD 47.31
Alberta CAD 45.29
Ontario CAD 43.44
British Columbia CAD 42.92
Saskatchewan CAD 41.16
Quebec CAD 40.82
Newfoundland and Labrador CAD 40.39
New Brunswick CAD 40.23
Manitoba CAD 38.73
Nova Scotia CAD 37.18
Prince Edward Island CAD 35.30

The LMIA Requirements

The LMIA application process can be pretty labor-intensive and needs a lot of detailed supporting documents. Your employer will have to meet the following requirements to receive a positive LMIA:

Show That They Could Not Fill the Job Locally

Your employer must have advertised the vacant position for at least four consecutive weeks in the last three months before applying for an LMIA online. This should be done on the Government job site, JobBank. You can submit invoices from paid job platforms or supporting copies and documents as proof.

Develop a Transition Plan or a Labor Market Benefits Plan

Your employers must produce a transition plan that must be submitted with your LMIA online application. A transition plan should describe in detail what attempts the employer plans to undertake to recruit, retain, and train Canadians and permanent residents to reduce their reliance on the TFWP. For highly skilled positions, like those that fall under the Global Talent Stream, employers must develop a labor market benefits plan that describes how hiring a highly-skilled foreign worker will benefit the Canadian labor market. 

Exemptions include:

  • Caregivers
  • Position under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream
  • Jobs in Canada that are time-limited, such as emergency repair work
  • Unique skills that very few people possess, such as senior managers under TEER level 0

Draw up an Employment Contract

The employer and the temporary foreign worker must prepare and sign an employment contract to ensure all parties know their rights and obligations. The temporary foreign worker must sign it before arriving in Canada. 

Meet Additional Requirements for Low-wage Positions

Other work benefits like transportation, affordable housing, and healthcare must be arranged and provided for low-wage foreign workers. The ESDC may conduct inspections to ensure employers adhere to these requirements.

Pay the LMIA Application Fees

Employers must pay a CAD 1,000 professing fee for the LMIA online application. Employers may be exempt from paying the application fee if hired through the Caregiver Stream and the Agriculture Worker Streams. An LMIA Canada is valid for six months after it is issued to a Canadian employer.


Once I Get My LMIA, How Do I Get My Canadian Work Permit?

The Canadian Work Permit process is relatively straightforward but can become complex if you don't have everything in order. Here's a handy breakdown of the Canadian work permit application process to help you keep in check:

What Happens Once My LMIA is Approved?

If a Labour Market Impact Assessment is approved or deemed positive, it will be valid for six months. Sometimes an LMIA may be approved in as little as ten days. Your employer will notify you that you can apply for your work permit or permanent residency. You must receive a copy of the LMIA and a job offer from your employer, as you will need it when applying for your work permit.  

Start Your Career in Canada

Start Your Career in Canada

You now have your LMIA meaning you can apply for your Canadian work visa and begin your prosperous career in Canada. To ensure your work permit application is successful, you may want to utilize the experience and expertise of a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). An RCIC can help you with your Canadian work permit application by providing expert advice and assistance. RCICs are authorized representatives who are members in good standing with the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). They are specially trained and qualified to guide Canadian immigration policies and can help you navigate the complex application process. An RCIC can liaise with the Canadian Immigration Authorities and your employer on your behalf, saving you time and effort. 

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