Hire a skilled worker to support their permanent residency – Wages, working conditions and occupations

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 foreign worker 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 rate 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 temporary foreign worker (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.

Step 3

Determine if there are any workers currently employed in the same occupation and work location where the foreign worker will be employed.

  • If yes, proceed to step 4.
  • If no, proceed to the Prevailing wage section.

Step 4

Determine the wage range paid to the current employees working in the same occupation and work location where the foreign worker will be employed.

  • If the wage range paid to these workers is higher than the prevailing wage on Job Bank, employers must pay the foreign worker 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 foreign workers 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 foreign workers these same terms and conditions and also submit a copy of the collective bargaining agreement, along with the LMIA application to ESDC/Service Canada.

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 review and adjust (if necessary) the foreign worker’s wage after 12 months of employment to ensure the worker continues to receive the prevailing wage rate of the occupation and work location where the foreign worker is employed.

In addition, employers must ensure the wage offered to the foreign worker is not below any:

  • Applicable federal or provincial/territorial minimum wage rates; or
  • Wage schedules set by provincial/territorial legislation (e.g. Manitoba Construction Industry Wages Act).

Employers offering a wage that is below the prevailing wage rate will be considered as not meeting the labour market factor for the assessment of wages and therefore, will be issued a negative LMIA.

Working conditions

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

Employers must:

  • pay workers for all work (including overtime, where required by law);
  • make sure that the workplace is safe; and
  • allow for proper break time and days off.

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 foreign workers 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.

Occupations

Employers cannot force any foreign workers to perform duties for which they were not hired or trained (e.g. if an employer submits an application to hire a foreign worker 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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