Program requirements for low-wage positions

From Employment and Social Development Canada

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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.

Processing fee

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:
    • Visa
    • MasterCard
    • American Express
  • The processing fee will not be refunded if your application is withdrawn, cancelled or if your Labour Market Impact Assessment is negative.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.

Third-parties

Use of a third-party

If you choose to use the services of a third-party representative (paid or unpaid), you must complete and submit Schedule A - Appointment of a Third-party Representative.

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
  • friend
  • not-for-profit group
  • religious organization

Business legitimacy

All employers applying to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) must be actively engaged in the business where the TFW will be employed. Employers must have an operating/functioning business, providing either a good or service related to the job offer made to the TFW in Canada.

New employers hiring a TFW must always submit one document which supports their active engagement in the business. Returning applicants to the Program are not required to re-submit any documentation. However, ESDC/Service Canada may request that employers submit additional documents when they are applying for a new LMIA. Employers who provide documents that are not requested may slow down the processing of their application.

Documentation which supports an employer’s active engagement includes:

  • municipal/provincial/territorial/ business licence (where applicable and if first LMIA application);
  • business registration or legal incorporation documents (if first LMIA application);
  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) documents (where applicable and if first LMIA application) including:
    • T2 Schedule 100 Balance Sheet Information (for corporations only – 2 most recent returns filed)
    • T2 Schedule 125 Income Statement Information (for corporations only – 2 most recent returns filed)
  • attestation by a lawyer, notary public or Chartered Professional Accountant, who is a member in good standing within the respective professional bodies, confirming that the employer is engaged in a legal business that provides a good and/or service in Canada and that the business is in good financial standing and will be able to meet all financial obligations to any TFWs hired (for sole proprietorships/partnerships);
  • a formal letter from a legal business confirming the existence of a contract for a good and/or service with the employer applying for an LMIA;
  • commercial lease agreement (with the financial information redacted/blackened out);
  • provincial/territorial workplace safety and insurance (e.g. workers compensation board) clearance letter (if applicable);
  • Provincial requirements and/or documentation:

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; or
  • 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.

Calculating the cap

To calculate the cap, you must complete Schedule E – Cap for Low-wage Positions and submit it along with your Labour Market Impact Assessment application form. You may be asked to provide documentation, such as payroll records, to support the information provided.

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 (e.g. 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.
    • This exemption can only be used once, per work location, for applications received between February 19, 2016 and December 31, 2016, inclusively. Effective January 1, 2017, this exemption can be used again one time per work location, for Labour Market Impact Assessment applications received between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, inclusively.

Recruitment

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 three different recruitment activities which are to:

  • advertise on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank or its provincial or territorial counterpart in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec (if you choose to use an alternative method, you must submit a written rationale and explanation of the alternative method); and
  • conduct at least two additional methods of recruitment that are consistent with the occupation (targets an audience that has the appropriate education, professional experience or skill level required for the occupation);
  • One of these methods used must target at least one of the underrepresented groups: Indigenous persons, youth, new immigrants, and persons with disabilities.

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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. national journals or magazines, professional associations magazines, specialized journals)
  • participation at job fairs
  • partnering with training institutions or offering internships
  • professional recruitment agencies
  • consultations with unions for available labour
  • advertising through professional associations
  • recruitment within the company (e.g. 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. Where you advertise on multiple websites of the same type, the combined advertisements should be considered only as one additional method of recruitment.

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.

Proof of advertisement

You must demonstrate that you have made efforts to recruit 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 and/or skill level required for the occupation
  • proof of other recruitment activities (e.g. invoice from Job Fair)

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 (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)

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

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 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
  • tips
  • benefits
  • profit sharing
  • bonuses
  • commissions
  • 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:

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 Diversité et de l'Inclusion (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)
  • compensation
  • 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.

Transportation

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.

Housing

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 (e.g. newspaper ads) that affordable housing is available.

Health care

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.

Workplace safety

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

Employment contract

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).

Language restriction

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.

Unionized positions

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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