Hire a worker without an LMIA: employer inspections


If you hired a temporary foreign worker through the International Mobility Program, you may be subject to inspections.

Inspections make sure you’re informed of, and meet, your responsibilities as an employer. These inspections

  • protect temporary workers
  • make sure employers are using the International Mobility Program properly

We may choose to inspect your business because we

  • chose you randomly
  • believe you aren’t compliant with the program conditions
  • found that you were non-compliant in the past
  • know you hired a foreign worker who was subject to an order or regulation under the Quarantine Act or Emergencies Act
  • were notified of an outbreak of a communicable disease at a work site where foreign workers are working

We, or Service Canada, will contact you if we choose to inspect your business.

If there is more than 1 employer

If more than 1 employer was involved in hiring the temporary worker, it’s the employer who submitted the offer of employment who

  • will be contacted
  • must give the officer all requested documents, including documents from other employers involved
  • will be held accountable for any non-compliance

The officer decides

  • who’s responsible for each responsibility
  • which business they’ll inspect

All employers

  • must meet their responsibilities
  • may be inspected

These conditions apply even if an authorized representative submitted offers of employment for you.

If you want to use an authorized representative after you received an inspection notice, you must give the inspector

  • a letter or email giving your authorized representative permission to act on your behalf
  • all other requested documents

Prepare for the inspection

If we choose to inspect your business, you must:

  • provide all documents that are listed in the letter you receive
  • show up at a specified time and location to answer questions, when asked
  • attend any on-site inspections, when asked

The documents you need to give to the officer are listed in your inspection notification letter. They could be different for each inspection. We could ask you for:

  • the job description
  • the employment contract
  • time sheets and payroll records
  • the temporary worker’s T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid
  • your business license or permit
  • any commercial lease agreements
  • your T2 Income Statement, Balance Sheet, or similar
  • cancelled cheques, money orders or bank statements
  • your business’:
    • anti-abuse and/or anti-harassment policies
    • employee codes of conduct
  • proof that you have private health insurance for the temporary worker
  • proof that you registered for workplace safety insurance, or your worker’s compensation clearance letter
  • your provincial/territorial employer and recruiter registration certificate or license
  • travel itineraries and/or invoices
  • accommodation information
  • any other document the officer thinks is necessary

Removing personal information

You must remove any references to social insurance numbers and other personal information not related to the inspection before sending us your documents.

What happens during the inspection

During an on-site inspection, an officer can:

  • speak with you and anyone you employ(ed) about anything relevant to the inspection
  • ask to see and make copies of any documents found on-site, including electronic documents on a computer or any other device
  • take photos and make videos or audio recordings
  • inspect anything found on-site
  • have anyone they choose help or accompany them

Any information we collect during an inspection is subject to all relevant privacy laws.

If you think you may have been non-compliant in some way, you’ll have an opportunity to explain what happened.

What happens if we find you non-compliant

Once the inspection is complete, you’ll receive a letter (Notice of preliminary findings) that explains the program violation(s) and the possible penalties you could face.

You’ll have 30 days from the date you receive the letter to write back to us about the violation and/or the penalties before we make a final decision. This is your opportunity to:

  • explain and justify why you were non-compliant
  • give us any information you think is important

Explain your non-compliance

In some cases, you can explain why you were non-compliant based on the parameters set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. For example, you may be able to provide a reason why a violation happened if it was because of:

  • a change:
    • in federal or provincial law
    • to a union agreement
    • in the economy that directly affected your business
  • an administrative, accounting or other type of error, if:
    • the error has been fixed and
    • the temporary worker received any missing pay
  • an unusual or unexpected event, like a natural disaster
  • other similar situations

Before we make a final decision, you should send the officer any information and evidence you have that explains and possibly justifies why you were non-compliant. If the officer accepts your justification, we may find you compliant or compliant with justification, instead of non-compliant.

You can ask for an extension to the 30 days by writing to the inspection agency, if you need more time. We’ll let you know if your request for more time is approved or denied.

Final decision

After the 30-day period for submissions has lapsed, the file will be transferred to a senior decision maker, who will review the entire case and render a final decision on compliance.

If we find you non-compliant, you’ll receive a final notice. This notice will tell you:

  • which condition(s) you violated
  • how you violated them
  • the reason(s) for finding you non-compliant
  • how severe the program violations are
  • the penalties applied
  • any next steps to take

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