Essential workers for the production stage of television and film [R205(a) – C14] – Canadian interests – International Mobility Program

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

There are specific situations where the work of the foreign national in that situation creates significant social, cultural or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, so that IRCC considers, by policy, that the foreign national’s work meets the requirements of paragraph 205(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). Accordingly, the department has created Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption categories (via unique administrative codes) to capture the different considerations for these specific situations.

C14 is the administrative LMIA exemption code that covers the work of certain essential foreign workers in the production stage (filming) of a live-action television or film project being filmed in whole or in part in Canada who may be eligible for a work permit under paragraph R205(a). The policy consideration is that facilitating entry for such individuals under the International Mobility Program

  • serves to support existing public investment in these projects
  • protects Canada’s economic interests in continuing to attract high-value television film projectsto Canada
  • creates ancillary advantages for local communities or economies

Consideration under this exemption is to be given for the production (filming) stage of live-action television and film projects in Canada, regardless of whether

  • the production is foreign or Canadian
  • it is filmed entirely or in part in Canada.

Projects or productions that are not filmed in Canada would be unlikely to meet the policy considerations for a C14 exemption, as the lack of on-location work means that the significant social, cultural or economic benefits or opportunities would not materialize.

For television and film workers who do not meet the specific considerations for a C14 exemption, officers may still assess them on a case-by-case basis, possibly under the broader LMIA exemption code C10 also used for assessment under paragraph R205(a). Television and film workers may also submit a work permit application under the LMIA-required Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

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Eligibility

Cumulatively, the following factors, established as a result of extensive consultation with representatives of the industry and labour organizations, demonstrate that work at the production stage of a live-action television or film project would likely create or maintain significant social, cultural or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents and thus qualify for an LMIA exemption using the administrative code C14. The work must be:

  • essential to a live-action TV or film project in the production stage (filming): Essential positions are those where the physical presence of foreign workers on location in Canada is required to generate the expected benefit.
  • high wage: Evidence of high-wage work is meant to establish that Canada will reap a significant economic benefit (for example, tax revenue) from hiring a foreign national and to protect the Canadian labour market from wage suppression.
  • unionized: Proof of unionized work demonstrates that the employment of the foreign national is critical to the production occurring in Canada while protecting the direct employment of Canadians.

Occupations that may meet these criteria include, but are not limited to, actors and actresses, directors, stunt persons, lighting specialists and choreographers.

This policy is focused on the significant benefit of live TV and film productions in Canada where high-wage, unionized foreign workers are necessary during the shooting of the film in Canada, benefiting Canada’s domestic TV and film industry and its growth as well as providing spin-off benefits for the locations. Officers may assess applications outside of these policy considerations and administrative LMIA exemption code under other International Mobility Program streams, or under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The following situations would not provide a significant benefit that meets the policy considerations identified for administrative LMIA exemption code C14.

  • Pre- or post-production work, for example, storyboarding, visual effects, sound editing or film editing. This work is not considered essential to the on location production stage (filming), likely does not have to be performed in Canada, and is beyond the scope of the policy. Pre- or post-production work would normally require an LMIA.
  • Work that is not specific to a production. Administrative LMIA exemption code C14 is intended for work on specific, named productions, so that there can be a valid assessment of the potential significant benefit (for example, job creation, local spending) of the productions to Canada. Long-term positions with a company, where the work is not tied to a specified, named production, may require an LMIA.
  • Work that is paid below the median wage. Salaries that tend to skew towards the lower end of the compensation spectrum may not, broadly speaking, support the argument that the work is of significant benefit. In addition, they could have a negative effect by suppressing overall salaries in the positions.
  • Non-unionized work. Officers should be assessing this specific situation based not on whether the employer is a unionized work place but on whether the occupation itself is unionized in Canada. Unions or guilds in this industry provide valuable information, through the letter of support, on whether sufficient efforts have been made to ensure that Canadians or permanent residents are hired whenever possible. Examples of positions that would not qualify under exemption code C14 are digital media or visual effects positions, as they are generally non-unionized.

Documentary evidence

The onus is on the applicant to provide evidence that they meet the considerations of administrative exemption code C14 and will be able to perform the work being sought as stated in the LMIA-exempt offer of employment.

Offer of employment submitted through the Employer Portal

The employer must submit an offer of employment, as per section R209.11, before a work permit application is made.

The following are specific fields officers should review in GCMS:

Field Considerations
Requirements Exemptions Met

This field should reflect the specific productions and how the worker is essential to the productions. This should not be a copy and paste from IRCC’s website. This field should contain specific information in regard to

  • the name and contact information for the live-action production
  • the working title of the production, the province or territory in Canada in which the production will take place and the proposed dates of the production
  • details of the significant economic benefit to Canada of the TV or film production, which should include
    • the estimated number of jobs for Canadians created by the production
    • the estimated budgetary spend in Canada at the federal, provincial or territorial level
    • a statement confirming that the TV or film production satisfies the criteria for a federal, provincial or territorial tax credit for TV or film production, or is the recipient of federal, provincial or territorial funding for a TV or film production
Worker Information fields
  • the name of the work permit applicant for the production
  • passport number and citizenship
    • These fields in the Employment Details tab must match exactly those in the Clients & Parties tab.

Duties

These are the activities that the foreign national will be performing. Do they make sense for the occupation? Are they essential to filming in the production stage of a live-action TV or film project?
Job Requirements Are there specific requirements of the position that align with the benefit? For example, is the occupation unionized or regulated by a guild in Canada (not the specific job but the occupation as a whole)?
Wages

Are the wages above the median wage for the occupation and province or territory of destination?

If not, is there an explanation of how the work of the foreign national is a significant benefit to Canada in the “Requirements Exemptions Met” field?

Other Training Required The employer may indicate specialty training as a requirement.

Letter from the relevant union or guild

A letter from the relevant union for the occupation or the guild that oversees the occupation helps demonstrate the benefit to Canada’s film industry. This letter should be included with the work permit application and contain

  • a description of the union or guild
  • the working title and the relevant location(s) of the TV or film production(s)
  • the name of the work permit applicant
  • a statement for the officer’s consideration indicating that the union or guild is of the view that the work to be performed is subject to a collective agreement and that it has no objection to the foreign national working in the specified position for the specified company
  • the signature of a senior representative of the organization
  • the date of signature

Note: For applications submitted online, additional supporting documents may be uploaded under “Client information”.

Other LMIA or work permit exemptions for consideration

Depending on the nature of the work to be performed and how the production is funded, if the applicant does not meet eligibility requirements for this specific LMIA exemption category, they may be eligible for other LMIA or work permit exemption categories.

Employer compliance fee

Regulations for the International Mobility Program provide that, when hiring LMIA-exempt foreign workers, employers must pay an employer compliance fee and submit an offer of employment to IRCC.

Some employers may be exempt from paying the employer compliance fee under subsections R303.1(5) and R303.2(2). However, despite the fee exemption, these employers must submit an offer of employment.

A work permit application will be refused under paragraph R200(3)(f.1) if the employer

  • has not paid the employer compliance fee, as per section R303.1, unless the employer has been exempted from paying the fee under subsection R303.1(5) or R303.2(2); or
  • has not submitted an offer of employment, as per section R209.11.

A refund of the employer compliance fee should be initiated if

  • the work permit application is refused; or
  • the employer withdraws their offer of employment in writing prior to the issuance of the work permit and the work permit application is therefore refused.

Applicants destined to Quebec

Foreign nationals destined to work in Quebec under paragraph R205(a) (LMIA exemption code C14) do not require a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ).

Work permit issuance in the Global Case Management System (GCMS)

Under the Application screen, officers should enter the following information in the specified fields:

Field

Selection or input

Case type

52

Province of destination

The province of destination entered by the applicant should match the address of employment in the LMIA-exempt offer of employment. This information is under the Employment Details – LMIA-exempt tab.

City of destination

The city of destination entered by the applicant should match the address of employment in the LMIA-exempt offer of employment. This information is under the Employment Details – LMIA-exempt tab.

Exemption code

C14

This code is auto-populated from the LMIA-exempt offer of employment.

This code should only be changed in specific circumstances. See Changes between the offer of employment and the work permit application for further information.

NOC

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) code is auto-populated from the LMIA-exempt offer of employment.

Intended occupation

Job title

This is auto-populated from the LMIA-exempt offer of employment.

LMIA/LMIA-exempt #

“A” number from the work permit application.

This number is auto-populated from the work permit application, and it is what is used to match the application with the offer of employment in the Employer Portal. If the work permit application was submitted on paper, the officer must manually enter the number.

Employer

Business operating name

Duration

Officers may issue an LMIA-exempt work permit that is valid for the duration of the offer of employment or until the expiry of the travel document, whichever is earlier. If the foreign national is exempt from the travel document requirement (for example, they are a United States citizen), the work permit should be issued for the full duration of the offer of employment.

Refer to Validity period for work permits

Note: The employer is subject to regulatory imposed conditions based on the information provided in the offer of employment. Therefore, any corrections to the information in the form must come from the employer.

Specifically, if the employer has made an error in the offer of employment, officers should not just correct the information in GCMS. Instead, they may

  • refuse the application based on the foreign national not meeting the eligibility requirements, if applicable; or
  • contact the employer and instruct them to submit a new offer of employment.
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