Hire a temporary worker through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program: Next steps

6. Next steps

Service Canada will assess the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application submitted by the employer to determine what impact hiring a temporary foreign worker (TFW) would have on Canada’s job market. Based on the application and the documents received, the Department will issue a positive or negative LMIA.

LMIA process

All LMIA applications go through a systematic assessment process to:

  1. verify if the employer is:
  2. verify the consistency of the job offer with federal-provincial-territorial agreements
  3. assess the genuineness of the job offer. The assessment is based on whether the:
    • employer is actively engaged in the business related to the job offer
    • job offered to the TFW is consistent with the employment needs of the employer
    • employer can fulfil the terms and conditions of the job offer
    • employer and the third-party representative is compliant with the relevant federal-provincial-territorial employment and recruitment legislation
  4. assess:
    • the impact of hiring a TFW on the labour market including:
      • wages and working conditions offered
      • occupation in which the TFW will be employed
      • employer’s recruitment and advertisement efforts
      • benefits to the labour market
      • consultations, if any, with the appropriate union, and
      • the effect on the settlement of a labour dispute

As part of the assessment process, Service Canada will ensure that the employer has met all program requirements.

In accordance with amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, Service Canada has the authority to temporarily suspend LMIA processing when there is reason to suspect that an employer is not complying or has not complied with certain conditions that would put the health or safety of temporary foreign workers at serious risk.

Suspending the processing of an LMIA is not a decision that Service Canada takes lightly. The intent is to protect TFWs from entering a potentially harmful workplace while Service Canada investigates the allegations. The LMIA processing suspension will be lifted as soon as it is known that the serious risk to the TFWs health or safety was unfounded or has been resolved.

Once the assessment process is complete, the employer will be notified in writing of the final decision of their LMIA application.

Positive LMIA

The employer will receive a letter confirming the approval of the LMIA application. This positive LMIA is valid until December 15 of the calendar year that the work will occur

For privacy reasons, the letter will not include the names of the TFWs. However, it provides specific details about the job offer, such as the wages, working conditions and occupations as well as a system file number. The names of the workers will appear in Annex B, which is intended for the employer’s records only, and is not to be shared with the TFW as it is not required for the purposes of applying for a work permit.

Once the positive LMIA letter is received, it is the employer’s responsibility to send a copy of this letter and the employment contract, signed by the employer, to the foreign governments’ Ministry of Labour.


Liaison officers from Mexico and the Caribbean countries are responsible to recruit agricultural foreign workers and to help them apply for the necessary work permit and visa, if applicable, from IRCC.

Changing a TFW name on a positive LMIA

Name changes are not performed for applications under the SAWP.

Modification to a positive LMIA

Employers must take immediate action when changes have been made or need to be made to a foreign worker’s terms and conditions of employment as described in the positive LMIA letter and any annexes. Service Canada recommends that employers consult the Modification to a positive LMIA web page to determine when a change requires contacting the Employer Contact Centre or submitting a new LMIA form. In accordance with the provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, Service Canada may conduct an inspection to verify the employer’s compliance with the conditions set out in the positive LMIA letter and annexes. This inspection could include a review of the employer’s file. As a result, if Service Canada does not have a copy of the changes, the employer will be held accountable for the information that is on file.


Information included in the Modification to a positive LMIA web page does not apply to the process of changing/replacing TFW names on a positive LMIA. For details on that process, please refer to the Changing a TFW name on a positive LMIA section. Name changes are not performed for applications under the SAWP.

End of employment

If a TFW for whom you’ve received a positive LMIA cannot be located or does not show up for departure from Canada at the end of employment, you should:

  • make reasonable efforts to reach the worker
  • notify the Canada Border Services Agency and IRCC
  • notify Service Canada by sending the following information to the processing centre that issued the positive LMIA:
    • LMIA number(s)
    • employer name/business number
    • name(s) of departed TFW(s)
    • departure date
    • physical work location
    • details on how TFW(s) left
    • any other relevant information

Work permit

IRCC will then assess the TFW’s work permit application. If the assessment is positive, the TFW will receive a work permit to be able to work for a SAWP employer, under established working conditions. A work permit can be valid from January 1 to December 15; however, it cannot exceed a maximum duration of employment of 8 months.

Some countries may require that their citizens meet certain conditions if they want to work in Canada. Employers should:

  • ask the TFW to verify if additional conditions apply
  • contact the consulate of the foreign worker’s country in Canada, or
  • visit the consulate’s website

Once the TFW arrives in Canada, the employer must:

  • ensure that the worker is authorized to work and check the duration of the work permit
  • verify that the TFW’s work permit indicates that it is for a job under the SAWP, and
  • keep records of the number of regular and overtime hours the TFW has worked on a weekly/monthly basis


Employers are not allowed to take away the TFW’s identification documents such as passport, work permit or other identification.

Revocation of a LMIA

The revocation of an LMIA means overturning the decision based on new information, which changes the opinion from positive to negative.

An LMIA may be revoked if it has not yet expired, work permits have not been issued by IRCC, and if one or more of the following circumstances apply:

  • the employer has provided materially false or misleading information
  • new facts or information are brought forward after a positive LMIA has been issued, that would have changed the assessment of the application, resulting in a negative LMIA, or
  • the opinion was based on an unintentional error as to some material fact

The revocation of an LMIA is based on reliable and documented evidence that confirms that the new information or altered circumstances would have had an impact on the assessment of the factors listed under section 203 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Negative LMIA

Service Canada will issue a negative LMIA letter if the employer does not meet all program requirements. In these situations, the Department will also provide the employers with the necessary information to recover any work permit fees that were paid.

Employer compliance

Service Canada takes the integrity of the TFWP very seriously. Employers hiring TFWs are expected to be compliant with the TFWP, by upholding the terms and conditions of employment as stated in the original job offer and set out in the positive LMIA letter and annexes.

Employers must also follow all federal/provincial/territorial employment regulations and laws, as all workers in Canada have the same labour and human rights and social protections.

More information is available in the Employer compliance section.

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