Change of Rules for Low-Wage Labour Market Impact Assessments


Subject to various exceptions, the initial conceptual starting point for any work permit application is that an employer must secure a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for any position which it wishes to fill with a temporary foreign worker (TFW). Within this scheme there are many rules, including different considerations for low-wage vs. high wage workers.

When it comes to low-wage workers, the system has, for the last several years, imposed various restrictions including a cap on the number of positions an employer could fill with TFWs. Subject to some exceptions in this regard as well, and a phase-in period, an employer has not been allowed to have more than 10% of its workforce composed of low-wage TFWs. This was obviously designed to protect Canadian low-wage workers.

However, the government – without public announcement – has altered this rule. Now, “employers in seasonal industries hiring TFWs in low-wage seasonal positions that are no more than 180 calendar days in length…” may exceed the cap, effectively allowing unlimited recruitment in various industries. The change defines seasonal as a situation where “both the industry and the occupation experience significant fluctuations in labour demand between “peak” and “off-peak” periods, usually occurring on or around the same dates every year”. [Note that there was a prior exemption made for the seafood industry of a 120 day work period, but this new provision is (a) obviously for a longer period, and (b) applicable to any ‘seasonal’ business.]

As with many changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, there are proponents and opponents. Among the opponents are the restaurant industry which claims that this creates a double standard. As of this time, there is no indication, however, that this new provision will be broadened.

In its current form, the exemption can only be used one time, per work location, for applications received no later than December 31, 2016. No formal announcement has been made about future years, but this type of program will likely become more a fixture of the system.

The information in this article is for general purposes only, and not intended as legal advice for any particular situation.

This post originally appeared on Kranc Associates. Copyright © 2016 Kranc Associates. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Benjamin A. Kranc Benjamin A. Kranc is senior principal of Kranc Associates, a leading Canadian corporate immigration law firm. He has many years of experience assisting clients in connection with Canadian immigration and business issues. Ben is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Immigration Law. He is also on the ‘Who’s Who Legal’ list of foremost practitioners in Canadian corporate immigration, as well as rated as AV Preeminent® in a Martindale-Hubbell peer review. Ben has spoken at numerous conferences, seminars, and information sessions – both for professional organizations and private groups – about issues in Canadian immigration law, and has also taught immigration law at Seneca College in Toronto. In addition, Ben has written extensively. He is the author of a leading text on Canadian immigration law entitled “North American Relocation Law” (Thomson Reuters) and contributing immigration author to the “The Human Resources Advisor” (First Reference Books). Ben can be contacted at (416) 977-7500 ext. 226, or

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