Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Overview of Labour Market Impact Assessments

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

R203 provides the authority for officers to issue work permits on the basis of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). This Regulation provides broad authority for ESDC to weigh several factors in assessing the impact on the Canadian labour market. Traditional factors such as wages and working conditions and the availability of Canadians or permanent residents to do the work in question, as well as whether skills and knowledge transfer would result from confirming the foreign worker and whether the work is likely to create other jobs for the benefit of Canadians or permanent residents.

Also important is the fact that ESDC can provide an LMIA regarding whether the issuance of a work permit to a foreign national will have either a neutral or positive effect. In certain situations, this allows the ESDC officer to confirm unpaid employment.

Visit the ESDC website to learn more about the LMIA process.

Through this website officers can also see details of specific instructions for film and entertainment, academics, agricultural workers including the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), foreign workers in occupations that require lower levels of formal training, Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), provincial occupations under pressure lists, and oil sands construction workers in Alberta.

Officers should also be aware that there are several sector councils in key sectors of the economy, including automotive, aviation, biotechnology, child care, environment, mining, petroleum, policing, and steel which ESDC supports under the Sector Council Program.

Learn more about special initiatives and pilot projects.

Cooperation between ESDC/SC and CIC and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

The temporary foreign worker program is unique in that its delivery relies on the close cooperation of three different departments. Officers are encouraged to contact ESDC in cases where more detail regarding the job offer would assist the decision, and likewise are encouraged to respond to ESDC queries in a timely manner.

There may be many situations where communication (separate from, or in addition to, issuance of an LMIA) between ESDC and CIC/CBSA can facilitate the decision-making process and improve client service. Some common situations where communication is recommended are listed below:

  • Officers intend to recommend to the worker that their employer seek an LMIA in cases where the work does not meet traditional criteria (i.e., where the work is unpaid, or there are other economic considerations besides the labour market). A discussion of whether it is better to confirm or apply C10 (see Significant benefit guidelines) may be useful in cases where facilitation is warranted.
  • The officer would like some advice on the local labour market to assist them in making a decision on a self-employed temporary foreign worker. (See Entrepreneurs/self-employed candidates seeking to operate a business, C11.)
  • The officer is considering applying C10 or C50 (see Canadian interests – charitable or religious work) for work which will provide a social, cultural or economic benefit, or which may be charitable, and local labour market information will assist them in making a decision.

ESDC officers may in turn contact CIC (the relevant visa office, POE or inland office) if they believe an LMIA exemption would apply, and wish to verify this before sending the employer (and the foreign worker) directly to CIC.

A record of communications with ESDC should be noted in the client's electronic file.

For information, see how to determine work permit expiry dates relative to the dates found on an LMIA.

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