Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

LMIA stands for Labour Market Impact Assessment.

In most situations, employers need to obtain an LMIA to hire temporary foreign workers. 

The LMIA Application Process is complex but can be mastered.

Below, I will explain all you need to get started.

What is Labour Market Impact Assessment for

The goal of the LMIA process is to determine what effect the hiring of your foreign workers would have on the Canadian labour market.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) administers the LMIA process and seeks to ensure that employers do not choose foreign candidates over qualified Canadians and permanent residents.

There are three possible results of the LMIA assessment: positive, neutral, or negative.

Providing that the outcome is a ‘positive’ or ‘neutral’ effect on the labour market, the employer may proceed and offer a job to a foreign national.

What Does the Employer Need to Do

Generally speaking, government officers review an LMIA application to verify whether the employer made sufficient efforts to find workers among Canadians and permanent residents. 

Employers will need to supply evidence of such efforts (e.g. ads, recruitment summary). 

In essence, employers will be permitted to hire foreign workers only if no Canadians or permanent residents are found to fill some or all of the vacant positions. 

Finally, officers verify that the foreign worker will receive the pay and work conditions that meet the provincial and federal standards.

In plain language, the LMIA Application Process is about making sure that you, the employer, have done enough to find Canadians for the job. If you convince the officer that there no workers you could possibly hire, then you may get an approval to hire foreign workers.

What Happens If the Employer Gets an LMIA Approval

A copy of the LMIA decision (or the LMIA number), should be provided to the foreign national. He or she will include it in an LMIA Work Permit application and submits for approval. Once approved he/she can start work in Canada.  

When to Apply for an LMIA

Employers can apply for an LMIA up to 6 months before the foreign workers’ expected job start date. Each LMIA can be for one or more vacancies of the same position. 

Importantly, it is not required to have foreign workers selected at the time of the LMIA application. Employers can utilize so called ‘Unnamed Labour Market Impact Assessment’ and choose foreign workers within 6 months following the LMIA approval. 

It is also known as pre-approved LMIA or LMIA pre-approval.

That is to say, unnamed LMIAs give employers flexibility to hire when a qualified foreign worker is recruited.         

Submit Your Resume (CV)

Are you looking for a job in Canada? Leave with us your resume for consideration by Canadian employers.

Step #1: Verify whether you need an LMIA

In most cases, employers need to apply for an LMIA. However, there are situations where no LMIA is required. Among these are highly skilled workers from countries, with which Canada has free trade agreements; youth participating in the International Experience Canada program; workers in some unique work situations; or provincial nominees.

In most cases, employers need to apply for an LMIA. However, there are situations where no LMIA is required. Among these are highly skilled workers from countries, with which Canada has free trade agreements; youth participating in the International Experience Canada program; workers in some unique work situations; or provincial nominees.

Step #2: Check if there are any prohibition to process an LMIA

As one of the first steps, employers should always check whether an LMIA application will be processed by ESDC. For a variety of reasons, the government may refuse to process certain positions in specific regions of Canada. Some of the main prohibitions are:

Prohibition #1: Low-wage positions in the accommodation and food services and retail trade sectors

ESDC will not process an LMIA application if both:

a) the application is for one of the positions under the below National Occupational Classifications (NOC).

b) the position is located in a region with an unemployment rate of 6 percent or higher. In order to determine the unemployment rate, ESDC issues every year in April an overview for the following 12 months.

*An exception applies to positions in Yellowknife.

Unemployment rates by economic region

Newfoundland and Labrador

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Avalon Peninsula

11.1

Above

South Coast Burin Peninsula and Notre Dame Central Bonavista Bay

18.2

Above

West Coast Northern Peninsula Labrador

16.2

Above

Prince Edward Island

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Prince Edward Island

9.4

Above

Nova Scotia

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Cape Breton

15.1

Above

North Shore

8.5

Above

Annapolis Valley

7.1

Above

Southern

6.5

Above

Halifax

5.9

Below

New Brunswick

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Campbellton-Miramichi

12.4

Above

Moncton-Richibucto

6.8

Above

Saint John-St. Stephen

7

Above

Fredericton-Oromocto

7.5

Above

Edmundston-Woodstock

6.4

Above

Quebec

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Gaspésie Îles de la Madeleine

12.9

Above

Bas-Saint-Laurent

5.4

Below

Capitale-Nationale

4.1

Below

Chaudière-Appalaches

3.3

Below

Estrie

4.7

Below

Centre-du-Québec

5.5

Below

Montérégie

4.5

Below

Montréal

7.2

Above

Laval

5.3

Below

Lanaudière

5.8

Below

Laurentides

5.6

Below

Outaouais

4.9

Below

Abitibi-Témiscamingue

3.8

Below

Mauricie

5.1

Below

Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

6.1

Above

Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec

4.9

Below

Ontario

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Ottawa

4.8

Below

Kingston-Pembroke

5.2

Below

Muskoka-Kawarthas

6.1

Above

Toronto

6.1

Above

Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie

4.7

Below

Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula

5.4

Below

London

5.6

Below

Windsor-Sarnia

5.6

Below

Stratford-Bruce Peninsula

3.7

Below

Northeast

6.1

Above

Northwest

5.1

Below

Manitoba

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Southeast

4.8

Below

South Central and North Central

3.8

Below

Southwest

4.3

Below

Winnipeg

6.6

Above

Interlake

6.4

Above

Parklands and Northern

6.3

Above

Saskatchewan

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Regina-Moose Mountain

5.7

Below

Swift Current-Moose Jaw

4.4

Below

Saskatoon-Biggar

6.4

Above

Yorkton-Melville

6.3

Above

Prince Albert and Northern

7.3

Above

Alberta

Economic Region

Rates effective July 1, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Lethbridge-Medicine Hat

5.3

Below

Camrose-Drumheller

7.1

Above

Calgary

7.4

Above

Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House and Athabasca-Grande Prairie-Peace River

5.4

Below

Red Deer

6

At

Edmonton

6.5

Above

Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake

5.8

Below

British Columbia

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Vancouver Island and Coast

4.7

Below

Lower Mainland-Southwest

4.3

Below

Thompson-Okanagan

6.1

Above

Kootenay

5.3

Below

Cariboo

5.6

Below

North Coast and Nechako

5.9

Below

Northeast

5.7

Below

Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

Economic Region

Rates effective April 22, 2019 unemployment rate (%) – 2018

Above/Below 6%

Yukon

2.7

Below

Northwest Territories

7.3

Above

Nunavut

14.1

Above

Prohibition #2: Cap on proportion of low-wage positions

An LMIA will not be processed if the proportion of foreign workers in low-wage positions exceeds the prescribed percentage of all workers employed at a company in a specific location. Click here to see the table of median hourly wages by province and territory to determine low and high wage.

Employers who did not employ low-wage foreign workers prior to June 20, 2014 are restricted to 10 percent.

Employers who employed low-wage foreign workers prior to June 20, 2014 are restricted to maximum 20 percent; or less if their percentage of low-wage foreign workers was less than 20 percent at the time immediately before June 20, 2014.

Exceptions apply to some agricultural positions, caregiving positions, applications submitted to support permanent residence, positions in companies with less than 10 employees and for positions in seasonal industries.

Prohibition #3: Certain high-wage and low-wage occupations in the province of Alberta

LMIA applications in Alberta will not be processed if submitted in support of a position on the list of occupations. Exceptions apply to industrial and power system electricians and all terrain crane operators.

Step #3: Determine the required wage rate employers must pay to foreign workers

Wages paid to foreign workers should be similar to those paid to Canadians and permanent residents employed in the same job and work location. 

The wage rate cannot be lower than the posted median wage on Job Bank: Explore the market. 

Equally, it cannot be lower or higher than the wage range that the employer is paying to current employees in the same job, skill level and experience.  

Step #4: Based on the occupation and the wage rate, select the appropriate LMIA stream

Majority of LMIA assessments fall under the stream for High-Wage Positions and the stream for Low-Wage Positions. This includes LMIAs to support permanent residence of foreign workers, which follow advertising and recruitment requirements of low and high wage streams. 

Other, more specialized steams are for: foreign agricultural workers, in-home caregivers, foreign academics and Global Talent Stream.

In order to determine if a process will follow the LMIA requirements for low or high wage stream, employers must compare the wage offered to foreign workers with the provincial/territorial median wage. 

If the offered wage is higher than the provincial median then the high-wage requirements apply. If the offered wage is lower than the provincial median then the low-wage requirements apply. See table below.

Example: If an employer offers a foreign bookkeeper in Toronto a wage of $25/hour, the LMIA application will need to follow the requirements for high-wage positions.

Median Hourly Wages by Province or Territory

PROVINCE OR TERRITORY

WAGES AS OF APRIL 22, 2019 2018 WAGE ($/HOUR)

Alberta

$26.67

British Columbia

$23.98

Manitoba

$21.00

New Brunswick

$20.00

Newfoundland and Labrador

$22.00

Northwest Territories

$34.00

Nova Scotia

$20.00

Nunavut

$30.00

Ontario

$23.08

Prince Edward Island

$19.49

Quebec

$22.00

Saskatchewan

$24.52

Yukon

$30.00

Step #5: Prepare an advertising and recruitment campaign prescribed by the LMIA stream

A well though-out and a carefully prepared ad is a must for a successful LMIA. 

It is crucial to follow the LMIA instructions for the Job Advertisement Information because application are refused for missing or inaccurate ad content. 

At the same time, employers should select their recruitment activities to meet the LMIA requirements for the stream. In most cases, an ad must be placed on jobbank.gc.ca. In addition, several other advertising methods are required. 

Employers need to make sure that the selected methods are relevant to the occupation advertised and that they reach the prescribed audience. 

It is advisable, to go above the prescribed minimum in the advertising campaign to demonstrate genuine efforts.     

Example: LMIA Job Advertisement Information – High-Wage Positions Stream

  • company operating name
  • business address
  • title of the position
  • job duties (for each position, if advertising is for more than one vacancy)
  • terms of employment (for example, project based, permanent position)
  • language of work
  • wage (must include any incremental raises, performance pay or bonuses)
    • a wage range can be used for the purposes of complying with the advertisements; however the minimum wage in the range must meet prevailing wage
  • benefits package offered (if applicable)
  • location(s) of work (local area, city or town)
  • contact information, including telephone number, cell phone number, email address, fax number, or mailing address
  • skills requirements (includes education and work experience)

Step #6: Conduct an advertising and recruitment campaign for the prescribed period

The LMIA requirements for each stream prescribe a specific time period, during which employers must advertise a position before they can apply for an LMIA approval to ESDC. 7

It is advisable to track the campaign efforts in order to create a detailed summary to be submitted with the LMIA application. Above all, employers have an obligation to review the applicants and interview the qualified ones. 

The final summary must include a list of reasons why the interviewed/qualified applicants were not hired, if that is the case. 

For the purpose of demonstrating due diligence and genuine intent to find workers locally, some employers choose to maintain the full extent of the campaign for the entire duration of the LMIA application process.       

Step #7: Complete the application package, including forms, proofs or recruitment, a recruitment summary and all supporting documents

This is when it all comes together. Completed application forms are accompanied by the employer’s recruitment summary along with the evidence that ads were placed, that a headhunter was hired, or that a job fair was attended. The proofs of ads must clearly show when an ad was posted and how long it was available to applicants. LMIA applications will include proofs of the business in the form of selected company’s financial documents. Employers may submit additional documentation, which they believe demonstrates the labour shortage they are experiencing.

Step #8: Pay fees and submit the LMIA application

A complete application must be submitted with the fee payment form. Unless exempt, each vacant position, for which a foreign worker is requested, equals to $1000 CAD in processing fees. LMIA processing fee exemption applies to, for example, some positions in agriculture and to some in-home caregiver positions. LMIA applications may be submitted by mail or fax.

Example: An employer in Saskatoon submits a High-Wage LMIA application for 2 computer programmers. As a result he/she will need to pay an LMIA processing fee of $2000 CAD.

Step #9: Continue the advertising & recruitment campaign and keep records of the results

Upon receipt of the LMIA application, ESDC will issue to the employer a letter with an LMIA file number. The LMIA processing time is different for each stream and ranges from 10 business days to several months. Regardless of the length of the LMIA processing time, most employers are obliged to continue advertising and reviewing applicants. At the final interview with the ESDC LMIA officer, employers will be asked to provide, either verbally or in a written form, a summary of recruitment efforts conducted since the LMIA application submission.   

Who is eligible for 10 days speed of service LMIA

In some instances, LMIA applications are processed in a preferential manner. Among these are:

Highest Paid Positions – Eligible employers are those offering wage (in the LMIA application) that is at or above the top 10 percent of wages earned by Canadians or permanent residents in the province/territory, where the job is located. Employers may request the 10 days speed of service LMIA if the wage offered is above the rate for the province as per the table below.

Skilled Trades – Employers are eligible for 10-day speed of service if the LMIA application is for a position that is on the list of eligible occupation. See below. Simultaneously, the wage offered must be at or above the median wage rate for the province or territory.

Short-Duration – Employers meet the LMIA requirements for 10-day speed of service if the position requested is for a period of employment of 120 calendar days or less. At the same time, the wage offered must be at or above the provincial/territorial median wage rate.

Express Entry – Employers submitting an LMIA application to support permanent residence of a foreign worker under the Express Entry program may also benefit from the 10-day speed of service processing.

Top 10% Wage Earners Eligible for Ten-Day Speed of Service

PROVINCE OR TERRITORY

WAGES AS OF APRIL 22, 2019 2018 WAGE ($/HOUR)

Alberta

$52.00

British Columbia

$44.00

Manitoba

$42.00

New Brunswick

$39.00

Newfoundland and Labrador

$43.96

Northwest Territories

$58.60

Nova Scotia

$40.87

Nunavut

$55.00

Ontario

$47.12

Prince Edward Island

$37.50

Quebec

$42.56

Saskatchewan

$46.00

Yukon

$48.00

Step #10: Participate in the final phone interview with the ESDC officer

Finally, the LMIA process comes to an end with a phone interview with an ESDC LMIA officer. The purpose of the conversation is to confirm the LMIA application information, review any changes that may have occurred since the submission, discuss the recruitment campaign and its results. As noted earlier, an updated summary of the recruitment data may be requested. Following the interview, the officer will make the decision.

Step #11: Receive the LMIA decision

Within several days, employers receive the final decision via fax. In a week or longer, a copy of the LMIA decision is also delivered by mail to the employer’s business address.

Note: For Unnamed LMIAs, employers must submit the foreign worker’s information (when recruited) to ESDC via a provided form. This must happen before the foreign worker applies for a work permit.

Step #12: Provide a copy of the LMIA decision to your foreign workers

The approved LMIA decision becomes a supporting document for the foreign worker’s LMIA work permit application. Once the work permit application is approved, the foreign worker may start work in Canada.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

For Employers

Submit Your Resume (CV)

Are you looking for a job in Canada? Leave with us your resume for consideration by Canadian employers.