Labour Market Impact Assessments

Welcome to the first of the series of articles about Labour Market Impact Assessment!

Previously known as a Labour Market Opinion (LMO), presently a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment Standards Development Canada (ESDC) allowing a Canadian Employer to hire Foreign Workers for their businesses.

With a variety of LMIAs available, for it is often feared and misunderstood by employers as it is a very tedious process. Therefore, many employers fail while applying by themselves. Carefully crafted rules reflect the needs of the Canadian labour market, allowing for the right individuals to obtain work permits in Canada as well as assistance towards obtaining permanent residency, to ultimately enter the Canadian labour market permanently.

There are many types of LMIAs available for all kinds of applications, but all of them have a common denominator and that is to help fill in the shortage of the Canadian labour market by hiring foreign workers.

The most common types of LMIAs applied for are:

  • High Wage Work Permit Support,
  • Low- Wage Work Permit Support,
  • Permanent Resident Support and
  • Permanent Resident Work Permit Support

The Process

Employers need to determine the need of hiring a foreign worker, and determine whether they can fulfil their obligation once they do so.

ESDC is very careful in making sure the job offers under LMIA are genuine and the company is in the financial position to hire a foreign worker, as well as acknowledging that there is a labor shortage.

Companies are required to submit a set of documentation to prove they are eligible of obtaining an LMIA.

Advertising and recruitment efforts are very important when it comes to obtaining an LMIA. Specific rules apply to different types of applications and employers need to advertise in a very particular way.

The job offer being advertised must publicize at least 30 hours per week and at least a median salary for the position, determined by the region the company is located.

With very few exemptions, the position must be offered first to Canadian citizens and permanent residents regardless of whether a foreign worker is already working for the employer. This is done to protect the rights of Canadians.
There are certain positions where employers have an extremely tough time finding local suitable candidates, and there are also highly skilled professionals who are widely available outside of Canada, but not so much in Canada. Every situation is different and must be assessed individually.

It is about companies being able to provide adequate service and to be able to grow and create new employment opportunities.

After at least 28 days of advertising and interviewing candidates, if an employer cannot find and hire the right people, they can complete the application and submit it to ESDC for assessment.

After paying the appropriate fees, eventually, an ESDC officer will contact the employer’s representative and speak to them about the application. If the employer can convince the officer that the application is genuine, a positive LMIA will be issued and a copy of that LMIA can be attached to the work permit application for the foreign worker.

Why do LMIA applications fail?

LMIA applications can be refused for several reasons, but the most common is that employers do not understand and follow the process or ignore the requirements. Realistically if the advertising, recruitment and determining the type of application to proceed with is not done properly, ESDC will often return the application as incomplete and not charge the employer the $1000.00 fee to ESDC (with some exceptions); sometimes depending on the stage at which application fails, the $1000.00 is lost.

The fee applies to every position on the application – for example, an application for 5 bricklayers costs $5000.00.

Sometimes ESDC concludes the position is not selected properly or there is no need for the employer to hire. ESDC can tell the employer, they have no means to hire that many or even one foreign worker. Therefore, it is very important for the companies to make sure all elements are in place before they file an application. Due to all the attention to detail and complexities, it is not a surprise inexperienced employers get confused.

LMIA’s are a wonderful tool and extremely useful when the process is followed correctly.

We invite you to contact our firm to discuss your needs, we have many years of experience with the LMIA processes and will be happy to assist you in the process!

Labour Market Impact Assessments - Swiderski Law