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Low Wage positions

Canada operates the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) as a means to supplement its work force when there is no qualified worker in Canada to do a job. An employer looking to hire a foreign worker in Canada often needs to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to the Canadian government—more specifically to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The government employee reviewing the application must determine that the hiring of the foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market. Among other factors, it must be clear that no qualified Canadians were passed up in favour of the foreign worker, and that the foreign worker will be given a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards.


  • The LMIA process is different depending on whether the targeted employee is classified as “high-wage” or “low-wage”. Temporary foreign workers being paid under the provincial/territorial median wage are considered low-wage, while those being paid at or above the median wage are considered high-wage.

 

  • Employers may be inspected for compliance with government regulations after their employee has begun working in Canada

Median Wage Employers are required to use the provincial or territorial median hourly wage to know which Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) requirements they have to meet. The wage being offered along with the location for the position will determine if employers need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under the stream for high-wage or low-wage positions, each with their own requirements.


Median hourly wages by province or territory

Province/territory

Median hourly wages prior to May 31, 2023

Median hourly wages as of May 31, 2023

Alberta

$28.85

$28.85

British Columbia

$26.44

$27.50

Manitoba

$23.00

$23.94

New Brunswick

$21.79

$23.00

Newfoundland and Labrador

$24.29

$25.00

Northwest Territories

$37.30

$38.00

Nova Scotia

$22.00

$22.97

Nunavut

$36.00

$35.90

Ontario

$26.06

$27.00

Prince Edward Island

$21.63

$22.50

Quebec

$25.00

$26.00

Saskatchewan

$25.96

$26.22

Yukon

$32.00

$35.00

  • Employers need to check the existing median wage as the same is adjusted every year.

Employers seeking to hire low-wage workers do not need to submit transition plans with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application. They must, however, follow a different set of guidelines.

 

There is a Cap on the percentage of low wage worker a business can hire , employers should be aware of the existing cap requirements as it changes.

As of April 30, 2022, and until further notice, you’re subject to a 20% cap limit on the proportion of TFWs that you can hire in low-wage positions at a specific work location. The cap is to ensure that Canadians or permanent residents are considered first for available jobs. 

For applications received between April 30, 2022, and August 30, 2024, from employers hiring workers in low-wage positions in the following defined sectors and sub-sectors, you’re eligible for a cap limit of 30%:


  • – Construction (NAICS 23)
  • – Food manufacturing (NAICS 311)
  • – Wood product manufacturing (NAICS 321)
  • – Furniture and related product manufacturing (NAICS 337)
  • – Hospitals (NAICS 622)
  • – Nursing and residential care facilities (NAICS 623)
  • – Accommodation and food services (NAICS 72)

Minimum recruitment requirements

Before applying for an LMIA, you must conduct at least 3 different recruitment activities: 

  • – Effective August 28, 2017, you must advertise on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank. If you choose to use an alternative method, you must submit a written rationale and explanation of the alternative method
  • – You must also conduct at least 2 additional methods of recruitment that are consistent with the occupation (targets an audience that has the appropriate education, professional experience or skill level required for the occupation). One of the methods used must be national in scope, and easily accessed by residents of any province or territory, as people in high-wage positions are often mobile and willing to relocate for work.
  •  

Business Legitimacy 

All employers, except private household employers

Based on your history with the TFWP, you don’t need to submit any of the documents below if:

  • – Your most recent LMIA decision was positive, and
  • – This positive LMIA was issued in the past 2 years
  •  

If you don’t meet the above conditions, you need to submit at least 1 of the following documents:

  • – A valid municipal/provincial/territorial business license
  • – Your most recent T4 Summary of remuneration paid
  • – Your most recent PD7A Statement of account for current source deductions
  • – An attestation confirming that you’re engaged in a legal business that provides a good or a service in Canada where an employee could work and a description of the main business activity. You can use this sample attestation as an example
  •  
    • The attestation must be prepared by either:
      • – A lawyer or any other member in good standing with a law society (lawyers, notaries in Quebec and independent paralegals in Ontario)
      • – A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in good standing with the respective professional body (attestations from Chartered Accountants in Quebec aren’t authorized by the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec), or
      • – An official (account manager, branch manager or above with delegated signing authority) from a federally or provincially regulated financial institution
      •  

To apply for a work permit, a worker needs

  • – A job offer letter
  • – A contract
  • – A copy of the LMIA, and
  • – The LMIA number