Hire a foreign academic – Wages, working conditions and occupations

Job Bank wage update

Job Bank wages are updated every year in the fall. The 2023 update took place on November 29, 2023.

3. Wages, working conditions and occupations

Employers applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) must pay the temporary foreign worker (TFW):

  • at a minimum, the posted prevailing wage for the occupation and work location where the TFW will be employed, or
  • a wage that is within the same wage range that they are paying their current employees working in the same occupation and same work location, if this range is higher than the prevailing wage

Employers must refer to the median wage published on Job Bank to determine the prevailing wage.

Step-by-step process to determine the prevailing wage of the position

Step 1

Determine if the available position is unionized or non-unionized:

  • if the position is unionized, proceed to the Unionized positions section
  • if the position is non-unionized, proceed to step 2

Step 2

Use the job title of the available position to conduct a search on Job Bank to determine the median wage for the occupation and work location where the TFW will be employed:

  • if the median wage is available on Job Bank, proceed to step 3
  • if the median wage is listed as “N/A” for the local area (economic region) where the work is located, employers should consult the provincial/territorial level wage. If this wage is not available, employers should consult the national wage

To determine the median wage on Job Bank:

Step 3

Determine if there are any workers currently employed in the same occupation and work location where the TFW will be employed:

Step 4

Determine the wage range paid to the current employees working in the same occupation and work location where the TFW will be employed:

  • if the wage range paid to these current workers is higher than the prevailing wage on Job Bank, employers must pay the TFW a wage that is above the prevailing wage and within the wage range
  • if the wage paid to these workers is lower than the prevailing wage on Job Bank, proceed to the Prevailing wage section

Unionized positions

Employers hiring TFWs for available positions which are part of a union must advertise and offer the same wage rates as those established under the collective agreement. The collective bargaining agreement will outline the terms and conditions of employment such as:

  • wages
  • benefits, and
  • hours of work

Employers must offer the TFWs these same terms and conditions and also submit a copy of the collective bargaining agreement, along with the LMIA application to ESDC/Service Canada.

The hiring of temporary foreign workers must not affect current nor foreseeable labour disputes at the workplace. During LMIA assessment, if it is determined that hiring TFWs is likely to adversely affect the course, the outcome or the settlement of a labour dispute, you will receive a negative LMIA decision. We recommend that you work actively with union representatives to recruit Canadians and permanent residents.

Prevailing wage

Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the prevailing wage rate is identified as the median hourly wage (or annual salary as published on Job Bank) or higher for the particular occupation and work location. Employers must also ensure that they include the wage being paid for the position, as part of their advertisement of the available position.

Employers must ensure the wage offered to the TFW is not below any:

  • applicable federal or provincial/territorial minimum wage rates, or
  • wage schedules set by provincial/territorial legislation (for example, Manitoba Construction Industry Wages Act)

Employers offering a wage that's below the prevailing wage rate will be considered as not meeting the labour market factor for the assessment of wages. Therefore, they’ll receive a negative LMIA.

Prevailing wage reviews

For LMIA applications submitted as of January 1, 2024, employers are required to update the wages of TFWs to reflect the prevailing wage. This wage review, as part of the LMIA and employment agreement, ensures that TFWs are paid the prevailing wage at the start of and throughout their employment period.

Regardless of the wage indicated on the LMIA application, employers are required to reassess and apply the prevailing wage at the beginning of a TFW’s period of employment. The prevailing wage must be reviewed annually using updated wages posted on Job Bank (if applicable). Because Job Bank wages are updated yearly in the fall, employers have until January 1 of the following year to do their review.

The updated wage can never go below the wage identified in the positive LMIA at any time during a TFW’s employment period, even if the prevailing wage decreases.

If you’re hiring TFWs in Quebec, consult the wage table provided by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) (French only).

Employers who don’t update wages accordingly may be subject to sanctions under the TFW Program’s employer compliance regime including administrative monetary penalties and bans from using the program.

You don’t need to report a wage modification to Service Canada if it meets the prevailing wage. Consult Modification to a positive LMIA to determine when a change requires contacting the Employer Contact Centre or submitting a new LMIA application.

Working conditions

Canadian law protects all workers in Canada, including TFWs. The exploitation of a TFW is considered a violation of Canadian laws and human rights.

Employers must:

  • pay workers for all work (including overtime, where required by law)
  • provide workplace safety insurance offer TFWs the same benefits as other workers, and
  • not take the TFWs identification

Employment in most occupations is covered under provincial/territorial legislation that deals with labour and employment standards such as: hours of work, working conditions and termination of employment. In fact, every province/territory has a Ministry of Labour that can provide information to assist employers and TFWs with questions or issues related to work.

Note: Some employers are federally regulated and therefore are covered by the employment standards under the Canada Labour Code.


Employers cannot force any TFWs to perform duties for which they were not hired or trained (for example, if an employer submits an application to hire a TFW as a welder, the duties given to the worker must correspond to that occupation and not those associated with a janitor).

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