Hire a temporary foreign worker through the Agricultural Stream:  Program requirements

2. Program requirements

Processing fee

The LMIA processing fee does not apply to occupations related to primary agriculture and positions under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 0821, 0822, 8252, 8255, 8431, 8432 and 8611.


Employers must always pay for the round-trip transportation costs (for example plane, train, boat, car, bus) of the temporary foreign worker (TFW) to the location of work in Canada, and back to the TFW's country of permanent residence. These costs must be paid up-front by the employer to ensure that they are not part of any negotiations related to the employment contract. This process helps protect TFWs, who may be tempted to accept alternative travel arrangements in return for a job offer.

Employers must keep records (for example invoices, receipts, copies of flight itineraries, tickets, boarding passes) of all transportation costs paid, for a minimum of 6 years. This information may be required as proof if employers re-apply for a subsequent LMIA or if they are selected for inspection.

Note: Under no circumstances, can an employer recover the transportation costs from the TFW.

Day-to-day transportation

Employers must provide to the TFWs, where required, no-cost transportation to and from the on-site/offsite housing location to the work location.


Employers must provide TFWs with adequate, suitable and affordable housing as defined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The housing can be either on-farm (for example bunkhouse) or off-site (for example commercial establishment). Employers must ensure the occupancy of each accommodation location does not exceed the maximum occupancy permitted. They must also ensure that sufficient housing will be made available for all TFWs per approved accommodation from the date of arrival to the date of departure.

Employers supplying:

  • on-farm housing
    • can deduct a maximum of $30 per week (pro-rated for partial weeks) from the TFW's wage, unless applicable provincial/territorial labour standards specify a lower amount.
  • off-site housing - lower-skilled workers
    • can deduct a maximum of $30 per week (pro-rated for partial weeks) from the TFW's wage, unless applicable provincial/territorial labour standards specify a lower amount.
  • off-site housing - higher-skilled workers
    • must ensure that the rent does not cost more than 30% of the TFW's gross monthly earnings.

If the employer is the leaseholder or the owner of the dwelling, where multiple TFWs are living, the employer must determine the rent according to the market rate. The rent must be divided equally between TFWs.

Note: The TFW is not required to stay in the housing provided by the employer and may choose to leave in favour of private accommodation. However, the TFW may need to provide advance notice to the employer or the commercial establishment regarding the departure date.

Housing inspection

Employers must provide proof that the on-farm or off-site housing has been inspected by the appropriate provincial/territorial/municipal body or by an authorized private inspector with appropriate certification. If the authorized inspector or jurisdiction does not have a standard form for reporting official housing inspections, employers must ensure that Schedule F – Housing inspection report seasonal agricultural worker program and agricultural stream is used to report the results.

Effective January 1, 2018, new requirements will need to be followed to confirm that the housing provided to temporary foreign agricultural workers has been inspected, and that all conditions on the housing inspection report have been addressed prior to obtaining a decision.

These additional requirements will include that:

The housing inspection report must:

  • have all relevant sections completed;
  • indicate that the housing has been inspected within the last eight months prior to the date the LMIA application is received by Service Canada; and
  • indicate the maximum number of workers permitted per approved accommodation.

Employers in Saskatchewan must:

  • must request a letter from Service Canada for the inspection to be performed by the regional offices of Sask Health

The Employer will forward the letter to Sask Health and must apply with sufficient time to accommodate the timeframes for obtaining an inspection. (Sask Health can usually complete inspections within 30 days).

Employers in British Columbia must:

  • use the British Columbia Agriculture Council (BCAC) housing inspection form; and
  • have the housing inspection conducted by a BCAC sanctioned inspector, authorized to conduct housing inspections.

Failure to meet the requirements for the housing inspection report without justification will result in the LMIA application being considered incomplete.

Although a housing inspection report with a “pass with conditions” status will still be accepted for the purpose of processing an LMIA application, a decision will not be rendered until the employer has provided evidence that all conditions on the housing inspection report have been addressed.

Employers are responsible for any costs that may be associated to having the housing inspected. Under no circumstances can employers recover these costs from the TFW.

Important: Please note employers who are using commercial accommodations 3 stars or above are not required to submit an HIR.

Health and workplace safety

Health insurance

Employers must always pay for the TFW's private health insurance. Coverage must begin from the time the TFW arrives in Canada until the worker is covered by the appropriate provincial/territorial health insurance plan. The waiting period to be eligible for the provincial/territorial health insurance is available on the Ministry of Health websites for each province or territory. The private insurance coverage provided to the TFW must be similar to the provincial/territorial health insurance plan.

Note: Under no circumstances, can an employer recover the health insurance costs from the TFW.

Workplace safety

Employers must always ensure that the TFWs they want to hire under the TFW Program are covered from the provincial/territorial workplace safety insurance provider, where required by law. In provinces/territories where the provincial/territorial legislation allows employers the flexibility to opt for a private insurance plan, employers must ensure:

  • that any private plan chosen provides the same level of compensation to that offered by a province/territory (for example must provide the same or better coverage than that offered by the province/territory)
  • that all employees on the worksite are covered by the same provider

Employers enquiring about private insurance plan equivalency should contact the provincial/territorial workplace safety authority.

The coverage purchased by the employer must correspond with the TFWs’ first day of work in Canada and the costs must not be recovered from the TFWs.

Pesticides and chemical use

Employers using pesticides or other hazardous chemicals must follow provincial/territorial rules. They must notify workers of pesticide and chemical use and provide workers with:

  • free protective equipment
  • appropriate formal and informal training
  • supervision where required by law

Employment contract

The employer must prepare and sign an employment contract. In the event that differences arise between the employer and the TFW, the contract will guide the resolution of disputes. In cases where the dispute cannot be resolved between the two parties, the employer or the TFW may contact the Ministry of Labour in the province/territory where the work is being performed.

Business legitimacy

All employers applying to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) supply documents along with their Labour Market Impact Assessment application to demonstrate that their business and job offer are legitimate.


Employers do not need to use the services of a third-party representative to apply for a foreign worker. However, employers who choose to use the services of one of these individuals or organizations must pay for all of the fees associated with the service and meet all of the applicable requirements.

Representatives assist employers by providing services, such as:

  • explaining and providing advice on the TFWP
  • completing and submitting the application form and all required documents
  • communicating with ESDC/Service Canada on the employer’s behalf
  • representing the employer during the application process

Employers who wish to use the services of a third-party, paid or unpaid, must complete the appropriate section of the LMIA application form. Employers must identify their representative and not simply the firm/organization employing this person.

Paid representatives

Individuals representing or assisting employers in exchange for compensation (for example money, goods or services) must be authorized under section  91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which means they have to be a member in good standing with:

  • a Canadian provincial/territorial law society, or a student-at-law under its supervision
  • the Chambre des notaires du Québec
  • the Province of Ontario’s law society as a paralegal
  • the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)

Employers should visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to verify that a specific representative is authorized to represent them or provide immigration advice.

Unpaid representatives

Individuals representing employers for free (for example do not collect fees or other forms of compensation) are not subject to any restrictions under the IRPA. These individuals are usually family members, non-for-profit or religious organizations that assist employers who may not be able to complete the application process on their own.

If a paid representative is not authorized under the IRPA, ESDC/Service Canada will continue to process the application, but will communicate with the employer directly. However, a copy of a signed letter stating that the employer is no longer using the services of the original representative will be required before the employer can:

  • hire another paid authorized representative
  • work with an unpaid representative

ESDC/Service Canada:

  • reserves the right to contact employers directly when further information or documentation is required.
  • will not mediate a dispute between an employer and a third-party representative nor communicate complaints to a regulatory body on an employer’s behalf. Employers who wish to file a formal complaint against their representative should contact the appropriate regulatory body (for example the provincial law society, the Chambre des notaires du Québec or the ICCR). For additional information on how to file a complaint, visit IRCC.
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