Employers in Canada can look to hire foreign nationals when they have employment shortages or require an employee-specific skill set to do a particular job, when they are unable to find a Canadian who can satisfy the role. For foreign nationals, coming to Canada as a temporary resident with a work permit is an avenue to work within Canada legally. This route may also lead towards an application for permanent residence

Applying for a work permit can be an arduous process, as the application is complex and will vary based on the skills and qualifications of the individual applicant. The process can also be complicated for employers who want to hire foreign workers, as they must comply with complex regulations set forth by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Requirements for Canadian Employers to hire Foreign Workers 

Canadian employers who hire foreign nationals must comply with the regulations promulgated by the government of Canada. Due to Canada’s interest in protecting its domestic labour market to ensure that jobs remain available to Canadians, the regulations for hiring foreign nationals are strict. 

Employers who do not comply with the regulations may lose the ability to hire foreign nationals or face other sanctions levied by the government. Sanctions can include, but are not limited to, the employer being banned from the temporary foreign worker program, denial of Labour Market Impact Assessments in the future, and the revocation of any current Labour Market Impact Assessments.

Labour Market Impact Assessment

Often, Canadian employers who wish to hire temporary foreign workers require a Labour Market Impact Assessment be completed. A Labour Market Impact Assessment must confirm that there is a need for a temporary foreign worker and that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to do the job. In some cases, there are exemptions which remove the Labour Market Impact Assessment requirement.

To receive a Labour Market Impact Assessment, employers must apply to Employment and Social Development Canada. The Labour Market Impact Assessment application process varies depending on the type of employee the employer wants to hire. There are different applications for high-wage, low-wage, agricultural, and seasonal agricultural workers. 

High wage is defined as offering a wage at or above the median hourly wage in the province or territory of employment. Low wage is a wage below the median hourly wage in the province or territory of employment. The median wages for each province and territory are available to employers so that they know which Labour Market Impact Assessment stream to apply for. If a Labour Market Impact Assessment has been issued to an employer, they are encouraged to provide a copy of the confirmation letter to their temporary foreign workers.

Compliance Reviews

Employer Compliance Reviews are a component of the Labour Market Impact Assessment process. Reviews are completed to ensure that the employer complies with any previous Labour Market Impact Assessments they have received. To ensure compliance, the Employer Compliance Review will confirm whether employees hired under the Labour Market Impact Assessment are:

  • Employed in the same role set out in the offer of employment;
  • Earning substantially the same wages as set out in the offer of employment; and
  • Working in conditions substantially the same as was set out in the offer of employment.

Compliance reviews are not limited to employers of temporary foreign workers who have a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Certain foreign nationals who can be hired through programs that do not require Labour Market Impact Assessments can still be subject to Employer Compliance Reviews.


Canadian employers who hire foreign nationals may be subject to inspections during the first six years of employment under a foreign worker’s work permit. Inspections may be required if the government receives a complaint of non-compliance with a Labour Market Impact Assessment, a past finding of non-compliance with a Labour Market Impact Assessment is found, or simply by random selection. Inspections ensure that the terms of employment specified in a Labour Market Impact Assessment are being followed and that workers are being treated fairly. 

Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers without a Labour Market Impact Assessment

If an employer believes that an exemption to the Labour Market Impact Assessment applies to their prospective hire, they should pursue it. If an exemption applies, the employer must select which exemption applies and include it in their offer of employment to the foreign national.

Another way that employers can avoid a Labour Market Impact Assessment is through the International Mobility Program. This program allows employers to hire workers without a Labour Market Impact Assessment when there would be a significant benefit to Canada through broad economic, cultural, or other competitive advantages. This program also applies to scenarios where Canadians can take advantage of other reciprocal benefits in a country. 

Applications in this category are assessed on a case-by-case basis and certain work permit categories are more likely to be accepted than others. Applications should include a significant benefit analysis and can include economic, social, and cultural benefit considerations. For an application under the International Mobility Program to have the best chance of success, it is important to include as many benefits as possible.

Contact Garson Immigration Law for Assistance with Hiring Foreign Workers

Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. Our immigration lawyers have a wealth of experience working with Canadian companies to help them bring foreign workers into Canada. We can work with you to assist your business in the application process for a Labour Market Impact Assessment. We can also help to ensure that businesses comply with the assessment, and we can assist in the preparation of an inspection. If you have any questions about Labour Market Impact Assessment and hiring foreign workers for your business, contact us online or call us at 416-321-2860.

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