Program requirements for low-wage positions
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Note: The Governments of Canada and Quebec have reached an agreement to launch a pilot project under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The agreement will introduce flexibilities for Quebec employers in the TFWP.
For more details on the Quebec pilot project, please refer to the section Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers in Quebec.
On this page
- Processing fee
- Business legitimacy
- Cap on proportion of low-wage positions
- Job duties and working conditions
- Two-year employment duration for meat processors pilot
- Health care
- Workplace safety
- Employment contract
- Language of work
- Unionized positions
As an employer, you must comply with all the Temporary Foreign Worker Program requirements for the position you are requesting. Learn about employer compliance and the possible consequences of non-compliance. You must also ensure that the employment you want to offer to a temporary foreign worker is for a full-time position which means that is has to be for a minimum of 30 hours of work/week.
Families or individuals seeking to hire a foreign caregiver to provide home care for individuals requiring assistance with medical needs are exempt from paying the Labour Market Impact Assessment application processing fee. Families or individuals with a gross annual income of $150,000 or less, seeking to hire a foreign caregiver to provide childcare in their home to a child under 13 years of age, also qualify for the processing fee exemption.
You must pay $1,000 for each position requested to cover the cost of processing your Labour Market Impact Assessment application.
- The processing fee payment (in Canadian dollars) can be made by:
- American Express
- Certified cheque (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
- Money Order (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
- Bank draft (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
- The processing fee will not be refunded if your application is withdrawn, cancelled or if your Labour Market Impact Assessment is negative. Refunds are issued only if a fee was collected in error
- The processing fee cannot be paid by nor be recovered from temporary foreign workers.
Use of a third-party
If you choose to use the services of a third-party representative (paid or unpaid), you must complete the appropriate section of the Labour Market Impact Assessment application form.
You must not recover the costs for the services of a paid representative from the temporary foreign worker.
We may communicate directly with you to verify information provided on the Labour Market Impact Assessment application from the third-party representative.
We will not mediate a dispute between you and a third-party representative nor communicate complaints to a regulatory body on your behalf.
If you have a complaint about your third-party representative, there are ways to get help.
Paid third-party representatives
You may choose to ask a third-party representative to act on your behalf when seeking to use the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to hire a temporary foreign worker. A paid representative must be authorized to collect a fee or to receive any other type of payment to act on your behalf or to advise you in the Labour Market Impact Assessment application process. An authorized third-party representative is:
- a member in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society or students-at-law under their supervision, or the Chambre des notaires du Québec
- a paralegal in the Province of Ontario’s law society
- a member in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council
Unpaid third-party representatives
An unpaid representative can also assist you but is not authorized to collect a fee or to receive any other type of payment for rendering services. An unpaid representative can be a:
- family member
- not-for-profit group
- religious organization
All employers applying to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) must supply documents along with their Labour Market Impact Assessment application to demonstrate that their business and job offer are legitimate.
Cap on proportion of low-wage positions
If you are hiring temporary foreign workers and offering them a wage that is below the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, you are subject to a cap on the proportion of temporary foreign workers that you, as an employer, can hire in low-wage positions at a specific work location.
The cap, implemented on June 20, 2014, was phased in to provide employers time to transition to a Canadian workforce which means that they are limited to a:
- 20% cap on the number of temporary foreign workers in low-wage positions, or the employers’ established estimated cap (whichever is lower), if they hired a temporary foreign worker in a low-wage position prior to June 20, 2014
- 10% cap on the number of temporary foreign workers in low-wage positions if the employers did not employ a temporary foreign worker in a low-wage position prior to June 20, 2014
Quebec Pilot Project
As part of the agreement between the governments of Canada and Quebec regarding the TFWP, effective January 10, 2022, applications received from employers in certain sectors with a workplace in Quebec have their established cap at 20% regardless if they employed a TFW in a low-wage positions before.
For more details, please refer to the section Hiring in the province of Quebec.
Exemptions to the cap
Exemptions include applications for:
- on-farm primary agricultural positions such as:
- farm managers/supervisors and specialized livestock workers (National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 0821, 0822, 8252 and 8255)
- general farm workers, nursery and greenhouse workers and harvesting labourers (NOC codes 8431, 8432 and 8611)
- caregiving positions in a:
- private household (NOC codes 3012, 3233, 4411 and 4412)
- health care facility (NOC codes 3012, 3233 and 3413)
- positions for which you are submitting an application to support a temporary foreign worker’s permanent residence under an Express Entry Program
- low-wage positions, if your business has fewer than 10 employees nationally, including the vacant positions you are applying to staff with temporary foreign workers
- highly mobile or truly temporary positions (120 calendar days or less); this duration could be extended on a case-by-case basis if you can demonstrate that the peak season, project or event operates beyond 120 calendar days:
- highly mobile is defined as a workforce that regularly crosses inter-jurisdictional boundaries (for example, provincial or territorial and/or international) as part of the business’ ongoing operations
- truly temporary is defined as a specific short-term period or singular event where the position will not be filled after the worker leaves the country
- low-wage positions in seasonal industries that do not go beyond 180 calendar-days:
- Seasonal is defined as when 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
- You can use this exemption one time per year in which the work is expected to begin, per work location, for application received up until December 31, 2022. If you want to hire workers for more than one occupation, you must fill out an application for each occupation (NOC code) and submit them all at the same time in order for them to be included in the one-time exemption.
Calculating the cap
To calculate the cap, you must fill in the Cap for Low-wage Positions section of the Labour Market Impact Assessment application form. You may be asked to submit documents, such as payroll records, to support the information provided.
Note for employers in seasonal industries:
When completing SECTION 10C (Determining the Effect on the Cap) of the application form:
- choose the 4 consecutive weeks as stated on the Form, or
- use the 4 consecutive weeks during the peak season from June 21, 2019 to June 20, 2020 if your workforce numbers in the 2020 to 2021 season are not exact for your peak period due to negative impact of COVID-19
Recruitment is the process of finding and selecting qualified employees. As part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program requirements, you must conduct recruitment efforts to hire Canadians and permanent residents before offering a job to a temporary foreign worker.
Minimum recruitment requirements
Before applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment, you must conduct at least 3 different recruitment activities:
- effective August 28, 2017, you must advertise on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank. If you choose to use an alternative method, you must submit a written rational and explanation
- you must also conduct at least 2 additional methods of recruitment that are consistent with the occupation (targets an audience that has the appropriate education, professional experience and or skill level required for the occupation). Effective August 28, 2017, each of the methods used must target a different underrepresented group: Indigenous persons, vulnerable youth, newcomers, and persons with disabilities
Vulnerable youth is defined as young people who face barriers to employment, developing basic employability skills and gaining valuable job experience to assist them in making a successful transition into the labour market or to return to school. These barriers for youth may include but are not limited to: challenges faced by recent immigration youth, youth with disabilities, lone parent youth, youth who have not completed high school, Indigenous youth, and youth living in rural or remote areas.
Prior to August 28, 2017: you were required to advertise either on Job Bank or its provincial or territorial counterpart in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec. While you can still use a provincial or territorial job board as a recruitment method, it does not meet the underrepresented groups requirement.
Effective June 10, 2020, the program is prioritizing certain occupations which are considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. The listed occupations have been prioritized across all provinces and territories (except in the province of Quebec). For a list of occupations specific to the province of Quebec, please refer to Hiring in the Province of Quebec.
Important: Any Refusal to Process supersedes prioritization.
- 3012 - Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
- 3111 - Specialist physicians
- 3112 - General practitioners and family physicians
- 3124 - Allied primary health practitioners
- 3131 - Pharmacists
- 3211 - Medical laboratory technologists
- 3212 - Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants
- 3214 - Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
- 3219 - Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)
- 3233 - Licensed practical nurses
- 3237 - Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment
- 3413 - Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
- 3414 - Other assisting occupations in support of health services
- 6331 - Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers-retail and wholesale
- 6731 - Light duty cleaners
- 8252 - Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
- 8431 - General Farm Workers
- 8432 - Nursery and Greenhouse Workers
- 8611 - Harvesting labourers
- 9462 - Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers
- 9463 - Fish and seafood plant workers
- 9617 - Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing
- 9618 - Labourers in fish and seafood processing
Effective January 12, 2022 and until June 30, 2022, Employment and Social Development Canada will suspend minimum advertising requirements for employers applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire temporary foreign workers in primary agriculture. Employers are expected to continue efforts to recruit Canadians and permanent residents. However, employers will not be required to meet TFWP minimum advertising requirements or submit proof with their LMIA application.
Job Match service
Effective August 28, 2017, you must use the Job Match service for recruitment purposes when advertising a position on Job Bank.
The Job Match service allows you to see anonymous profiles of registered job seekers which correspond to the skills and requirements outlined in your job posting. Each match is rated using a star system of one to five stars. The more stars received by the match, the greater the compatibility between your advertised position and the anonymous job seeker.
When creating your job posting, you must select the ‘’default’’ option. This option allows matches with job seekers from a wide variety of background as opposed to the ‘’strict’’ matching mode, where matches may be limited to fewer job seekers. Note: you may see “basic” option when creating your job posting, which is the same as “default” option.
When seeking to fill a low-wage position, you are required to invite all job seekers matched within the first 30 days of your job advertisement to apply for the position if they are rated two stars or more.
Methods of recruitment
Acceptable methods of recruitment for a job advertisement include:
- general employment websites
- online classified websites
- specialized websites which are dedicated to specific occupational profiles (for example, accounting, marketing, biotechnology, education, engineering)
- local, regional and national newspapers or newsletters
- local stores, places of worship, and community resource centres
- local, regional and provincial/territorial employment centres
- magazines and journals (for example, national journals or magazines, professional associations magazines, specialized journals)
- participation at job fairs
- partnering with training institutions or offering internships/bursaries
- professional recruitment agencies
- consultations with unions for available labour
- advertising through professional associations
- recruitment within the company (for example, considering internal candidates for the position)
If the two additional methods of recruitment are online, they must each have unique value and reach different audiences. In cases where you advertise on multiple websites of the same type, the combined advertisements should be considered only as one additional method of recruitment.
Recruitment documentation retention
You must keep records of your recruitment and advertising efforts for a minimum of six years. You will also be asked to provide the results from the recruitment efforts you undertook to fill the position.
Job advertisement duration
You must ensure that the job advertisement:
- has occurred in the three months prior to submitting the Labour Market Impact Assessment application
- is for a minimum of four consecutive weeks within the three months prior to submitting a Labour Market Impact Assessment application
At least one of the three recruitment activities to seek qualified Canadians and permanent residents must be ongoing until the date a positive or negative Labour Market Impact Assessment has been issued.
Job advertisement information
The required job advertisement information includes:
- 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: telephone number, cell phone number, email address, fax number, or mailing address
- skills requirements (includes education and work experience)
Proof of advertisement
You must demonstrate that you have made efforts to recruit qualified Canadians and permanent residents by providing these documents as proof of advertisement with your application:
- a copy of the advertisement and information to support where, when and for how long the position was advertised
- proof that the print media and websites used to advertise target an audience that has the appropriate education, professional experience or skill level required for the occupation
- proof of other recruitment activities (for example, invoice from Job Fair)
Variations to the advertising requirements
In certain circumstances, there are variations to the advertising requirements for specific occupations and in particular provinces/territories. Consult the variations list to determine if one of them applies to the requested position.
Wages offered to temporary foreign workers should be similar to wages paid to Canadian and permanent resident employees hired for the same job and work location, and with similar skills and years of experience.
For the purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, you must pay the prevailing wage which is defined as the highest of either:
- the median wage on Job Bank
- the wage that is within the wage range that you are paying your current employees hired for the same job and work location, and with the same skills and years of experience
To determine the median wage on Job Bank:
- go to Compare wages on Job Bank
- in the “Job search” field, enter the job title or the NOC code that best describes the duties and requirements of the position
- the hourly median wage will be listed in the middle column, by community or area. If the median wage is listed as ‘’N/A’’, consult the provincial/territorial wage. If it is not available, consult the national wage
If the position requires additional skills and years of experience over the applicable NOC description, the wages offered should reflect these additional requirements.
For the purpose of determining the wage rate being offered, we will only consider guaranteed wages, which exclude:
- overtime hours
- profit sharing
- other forms of compensation
Variations to the wage requirements
In certain circumstances, industry-specific wage rates have been identified and are considered as the prevailing wage rate during the assessment of the application. These sectors have unique wage requirements:
- Pharmacy students (excluding the Province of Quebec)
- Pharmacy interns (excluding the Province of Quebec)
- Program leaders, instructors (recreation, sport and fitness)
- Cold Lake
- International medical graduates in Quebec
- Fee for service physicians
- Maritime sector
If you want to hire a temporary foreign worker for a job in the province of Quebec, you must consult the wage table provided by the ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI) (French only).
Job duties and working conditions
The temporary foreign workers you hired, as a result of a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment, must only perform duties that correspond to the occupation they were hired for.
Canadian law protects all workers in Canada, including temporary foreign workers. The exploitation of temporary foreign workers is considered a violation of Canadian laws and human rights.
Employment in most occupations is covered under provincial/territorial legislation that deals with labour and employment standards such as:
- hours of work (including overtime)
- working conditions
- transportation costs (where applicable)
- housing costs (where applicable)
- termination of employment
Every province or territory has a Ministry of Labour that can provide information to assist employers and temporary foreign workers with questions or issues related to work. Some employers are federally regulated and, therefore, are covered by the employment standards under the Canada Labour Code.
Two-year employment duration for meat processors pilot
On December 2, 2019, Service Canada will begin accepting Labour Market Impact Assessment applications with a two-year employment duration for positions in meat processing.
To be eligible, your business' main activity must be in the manufacturing of meat products (under the North American Industry Classification System code 3116, Meat Product Manufacturing). The position that you are filling must also fall under one of the following National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes:
- Retail butchers (NOC B 6331)
- Industrial butchers (NOC C 9462)
- Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers (NOC B 8252)
- Food processing labourers (NOC D 9617)
To apply for a two-year employment duration, you must complete Schedule L: Two-year Employment Duration for Meat Processors Pilot and include it with your Low-wage Stream application. In this form you will:
- attest to support your temporary foreign worker employee's application for permanent residence through either the federal Agri-Food Immigration Pilot, a provincial nominee program, or a Quebec immigration program
- describe activities you have undertaken or will undertake to:
- recruit a temporary foreign worker who has the potential to obtain permanent residence (for example, has the necessary language skills and/or education)
- assist the worker in becoming well-positioned for their permanent residence application
- retain the worker in their job and in the community
- agree to distribute an information package on employment rights and protections to your temporary foreign worker employee:
- Service Canada will electronically send you the information package and instructions with the decision on your Labour Market Impact Assessment
- a form attesting that the information package has been provided to the foreign worker will also be included in your package. Both you and the worker will need to sign the form attesting that the information package on employment rights has been provided to the employee
- you are required to keep one copy of the signed attestation form for your records and provide a copy of the signed attestation form to the temporary foreign worker
- agree to participate in the evaluation of the Two-year Employment Duration for Meat Processors Pilot, and retain all relevant documentation
- agree to be subject to an inspection during the Two-year Employment Duration Pilot
If the position you are filling is unionized, you must also get the union's support for a two-year employment duration for the temporary foreign worker as well as their support for transitioning the foreign worker to permanent residence. To demonstrate this support, you must provide a letter from the union with your application, which is on union letterhead and signed by an authorized union official. Here is a sample letter that can be adapted by your union.
If the positon you are filling is not unionized, you must attest that you will arrange for the temporary foreign worker you are hiring through this pilot to attend an information session on workplace rights and protections. The information session must be held during work hours and can be either in person, or by teleconference. Service Canada will email you a list of potential community organizations or government agencies whom you can contact to arrange this information session.
You must pay for the round trip transportation costs for temporary foreign workers to arrive at their work location in Canada at the beginning of their work period, and to return to their country of residence at the end of their work period.
If the temporary foreign worker finds a new employer, who was issued a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment, the new employer is responsible for the transportation costs.
The transportation costs must not be recovered from the temporary foreign workers.
You must provide or ensure that suitable and affordable housing is available for the temporary foreign worker you will employ.
For the purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation definitions are used to determine the suitability and affordability of housing:
- suitable housing: does not require any major repairs, according to residents. Major repairs include those to defective plumbing or electrical wiring, or structural repairs to walls, floors or ceilings.
- affordable housing: costs less than 30% of the temporary foreign worker’s before-tax income. Shelter costs include, rent (or mortgage payment) and any payments for electricity, fuel, water and other municipal services.
We may ask for proof (for example, newspaper ads) that affordable housing is available.
You must ensure that the temporary foreign workers you want to hire in low-wage positions are covered by private, provincial or territorial health insurance from the first day they arrive in Canada. If provincial or territorial health care cannot be provided, you must pay for the equivalent private health insurance until the temporary foreign workers become eligible for the provincial/territorial plan.
You must always ensure that the temporary foreign workers you want to hire under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are covered from the provincial or territorial workplace safety insurance provider, where required by law. Where the provincial or territorial legislation allows employers the flexibility to opt for a private insurance plan, you must ensure that:
- any private plan chosen provides better or the same level of compensation to that offered by a province or territory
- all employees on the worksite are covered by the same provider
If you are enquiring about private insurance plan equivalency, contact the appropriate provincial or territorial workplace safety authority.
The coverage you purchased must correspond with the temporary foreign workers’ first day of work in Canada and the costs must not be recovered from the temporary foreign workers.
Pesticides and chemical use
You must notify temporary foreign workers of pesticides or chemical use in your workplace, and provide them with:
- protective equipment (at no cost to the temporary foreign worker)
- appropriate formal and informal training
- supervision where required by law
An employment contract must be prepared and signed by you and the temporary foreign worker to ensure that all parties involved are aware of their rights and obligations. The temporary foreign worker must sign it before arriving in Canada.
You can use this sample format of a contract (PDF 28.85 KB).
Employers must maintain comprehensive employment records that fully document adherence to the employment contract throughout the duration of the project. For positions in Quebec, please visit the Model employment contract for agricultural workers, on the website ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI), to obtain a template of the contract to be submitted with your application.
Employment contract - Maritime Transport sector
In addition, the employment contract for positions onboard a foreign vessel undertaking coasting trade in Canadian waters must also include:
- dates Canadian employment laws and regulations apply, and
- details of wages (monetary and non-monetary compensation) including if applicable, the wage “uplift”, how and when wages will be paid
Language of work
English or French are the only languages you can identify as a job requirement in your Labour Market Impact Assessment application and job advertisement. However, if another language is essential for the job, you must provide a justification on the application.
Positions with no language requirement
There may be rare cases where an offer of employment does not require any language for the foreign national.
If there is no language required for the job, you must provide more details on the application, including:
- how the foreign national will perform job duties in an effective and safe manner without the ability to communicate in any language, and
- what reasonable measures are in place to ensure health and safety of all persons at the place of work. To demonstrate this, you must also provide applicable and appropriate documentation with your application
Examples of reasonable measures are:
- having translated workplace safety manuals and procedures
- providing work place safety training in the foreign national’s identified language
- using international safety signs that use symbols (pictures)
- having official translators on-site
- and/or employing other workers or supervisors who can speak with the foreign nationals in their identified language
If you are applying to hire temporary foreign workers for positions covered under a collective agreement, you must:
- advertise and offer the same wage rates as those established under the collective agreement
- offer the temporary foreign workers the same terms and conditions as Canadian and permanent resident workers
- submit a copy of the section of the collective bargaining agreement on the wage structure
The hiring of temporary foreign workers must not affect current nor foreseeable labour disputes at the workplace.
We recommend that you work actively with union representatives to recruit Canadians and permanent residents.
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