Temporary Foreign Workers
For several years, ORHMA has been at the forefront in advocating for a reform of the immigration process in order to reduce red tape when trying to hire foreign workers. As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic has put much more strain on our industry's workforce issue and the need for workers is pressing especially as businesses are gearing up to operating pre-pandemic practices.
As your industry association, we at ORHMA are committed to finding solutions and helping members with the temporary foreign workers process. The following information will provide employers with a breakdown of the steps needed in order to seek workers from overseas.
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) – General Overview
The Federal Government is responsible for ensuring that Canada has a strong economy and labour market. The Government wants to ensure that Canadians and Permanent Residents of Canada (“PR”) are considered first for employment, except in limited circumstances.
In light of this fact, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) in coordination with Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) created two main streams for Foreign National (“FN”) workers:
The IMP requires Canadian employers to register the “job offer” via the IRCC employer portal. There is not a requirement for the employer to find a suitable local candidate, because the Federal Government has already played a role in the process.
The IMP includes access to immigration processes via free trade agreements, special programs in place to facilitate work permits, etc.
It takes an employer approx. 30 min to register via the portal and once completed, an “A-File Number” is issued and payment submitted. Upon completion of this step, the foreign national can then submit the request for a work permit.
The TFWP requires the Canadian employer to complete a genuine labour market test to find a suitable local candidate.
If the Canadian employer is unable to find a suitable local candidate to fill the position, then the Canadian employer may submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) application to Service Canada (a department of ESDC) for determination by an Officer.
The SC Officer will consider where the employer advertised, for how long, the content of the advertisement, the recruitment results, the company’s hiring process, etc.
If the SC Officer is satisfied that the employer completed a genuine search for a local candidate, but was unsuccessful, the SC Officer will issue a “positive” or “neutral” LMIA.
A positive or neutral LMIA document will allow the FN to then proceed through the immigration process to get a work permit (an visa, if needed) to Canada.
The LMIA process was created to ensure that the employer in Canada has “tested” the labour market to find a suitable local candidate to fill the position, before asking the Government to consider allowing the employer to hire a Foreign National.
Benefits of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program:
Fill labour requirements with workers from outside your local labour pool.
Enhanced employee loyalty and stability
General Requirements of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program:
1. Business Legitimacy
As an employer looking to hire a foreign worker, you must ensure the following:
That your business has no past compliance issues
That your business can fulfill all of the terms of the job offer
That you are providing a good or service in Canada
That the job you are offering is consistent with the needs of your business
That you have not laid off anyone in the last 12 months
2. Recruitment Process
Have the job description’s available and create job postings through the Government of Canada's Job Bank as well as two other sources (can be web, print, media, job fairs, etc). Your job posting must include some important information:
Copy of the job description
Category of workers needed
# of workers needed in each category
Length of the contract
Timeline for workers
Employers must advertise the position for at least thirty days and potentially interview candidates who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents before they look to hire internationally.
* For high wage workers, one of the methods used must be national in scope.
* For low wage workers, two additional recruitment methods beyond Job Bank must target different underrepresented groups (Indigenous persons, vulnerable youth, newcomers, and persons with disabilities).
Find the right candidates:
There are several ways you can recruit international candidates:
Job Bank Canada: Job Bank is Canada's national employment service, and the leading source of jobs and labour market information in the country. Job Bank Canada will allow you to indicate if you are looking to recruit Temporary Foreign Workers. Reminder: your job postings must be posted for at least 4 weeks prior to seeking international candidates.
National Job Boards: There are additional job boards available where an employer can post available positions and indicate they are looking for international employees.
International Governments: Connection with various international governments can assist in located pre-approved employees.
Offers must be similar to wages paid to Canadian employees hired for the same job. Employers must pay the prevailing wage (Based on Job Bank / NOC Stats). The wage rate only includes guaranteed wages therefore tips are not considered here.
4. Workplace Safety
Your business must be covered by WSIB.
Specific Requirements of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program:
Specific requirements to hire workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker program are determined based on the type of position you are hiring. Below you will find requirements for hiring Low Wage or High Wage workers.
How to Determine Low vs. High Wage Positions:
Ontario determines low vs high wage by splitting the median hourly wage of the province which is $26.06 as of April 2022. Low wage positions would be any position under $26.06 and high wage positions would be any position over $26.06.
As an employer, you are responsible to arrange and pay for the transportation from the country of residence to Canada and return. This cost CANNOT be recovered by the worker.
As an employer, you are responsible ensure suitable and affordable* housing is available.
*Affordable: Cannot surpass 30% of the worker's pre tax income.
As an employer, you must ensure the worker is covered under private or provincial health insurance from the first da that they arrive in Canada.
You must be able to describe the activities you are agreeing to undertake the recruit, retain and train Canadians and permanent residents to reduce your reliance on the TFWP.
One of the methods used must be national in scope.
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Requirements
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document a Canadian employer needs to hire most types of foreign workers. A positive LMIA confirms there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job at hand and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.
An LMIA application must be made by an employer. Once the LMIA is obtained, it must be sent to the candidate to accompany the work permit application. Generally, a temporary foreign worker will need a work permit and a positive LMIA in order to work in Canada.
An employer can seek pre-approval of the LMIA to indicate their requirement for workers. The application fee for LMIA requests is $1000 per position.
1. LMIA application and government application fee of $1,000 CAD
2. Proof of Business Legitimacy
Submit at least of the following documents:
T2 Schedule 100 Balance sheet information and T2 Schedule 125 Income statement information
T3010 Registered charity information return
an attestation confirming that your business is in good financial standing
3. Recent Documents from CRA (Ex: NOA)
4. Proof of providing goods or services
Submit at least of the following documents:
municipal/provincial/territorial business license
T4 Summary of remuneration paid
PD7A Statement of account for current source deductions
Copy of commercial contracts with clients (redacted)
5. Proof of Recruitment
1 Job Bank Ad
2 Other Job Ads
Fee payments for advertising
Excel chart outlining the applicants that applied, what credentials they did (or did not have), whether they were interviewed by telephone or in person, whether they were given an offer, etc.
6. Job Offer
Once the search for a local candidate has been completed, and if it was unsuccessful, an employer can then send the official job offer for signature. Once signed, the job offer letter can be added to the LMIA application and submitted to Service Canada along with appropriate identification (i.e. passport).
7. Employment Contract Offer (for low wage workers)
must be signed by both the employer and the foreign worker and translated if the individual is not fluent in English
The employer will need to submit dates and instruction for virtual interviews. They can then make their hiring decisions.
Steps to Follow Interview Process:
Preparation of the required forms and documents
Submission of the application
Application review by the ESDC
Interview with the company's officer