Changes to the LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment)

Today our lead recruiter, Henry spoke with Stanley Leo ([email protected]), Immigration Lawyer with Lowe & Company ( about changes that Service Canada recently made to the LMIA application process.

LMIA stands for Labour Market Impact Assessment and it is one of the main avenues used by employers seeking to obtain a Canadian work permit for a foreign national.

The LMIA is meant to clarify two important points about the position for which the employer wishes to employ a foreign national who does not already have a Canadian work visa.  The two points are:

  • Is the job genuine? In other words, does the job serve a legitimate commercial purpose for the employer and thus also benefit Canada and Canadians.  The job cannot exist as a pretext to support an individual’s entry into Canada.
  • Are any Canadians who are qualified for and available to do the job?

The first point is often proven by corporate standing of the employer, tax records and description of the job and its place in the business to the satisfaction of Service Canada’s case officers.

The second point is proven by the documented undertaking of a thorough search for qualified Canadians to fill the position.

It is the second aspect of the LMIA process that changes were recently made to the procedures of applying for a LMIA.  Previously, the job advertising requirement for the application could be satisfied by posting, for a set period, the position on specified federal or provincial governments job boards in the province where the job was to be located.

This was changed on 28 August 2017 where in all provinces the position must be posted for 30 days minimum on Jobbank Canada, the federal government job board.  Due to the nature of the job board this has added some administrative workload to those applying for an LMIA.  In defining the position being advertised for on Jobbank Canada, one relies mostly on choosing set definitions for the position which do not allow for customization that would be included in a more narrative job posting. All positions posted are assessed against the federal government’s JobMatch program which allows job seekers to create profiles and browse possible opportunities.  The JobMatch program also matches job seeker profiles and informs those matches to the employer.  Depending on the offered wage for a position, all matches of 4 stars or more (for “high wage positions) or 2 stars or more (for “low wage” positions) must be invited to apply for this position.  All those invited who do apply must by assessed for their suitability and tracked to present to Service Canada in the LMIA application.  All of the data from this process must be retained for 6 years following the date of issuance of the work permit that the LMIA is used to obtain.

Due to the inability to be able to refine the job description with qualifiers that would make it clear to individuals that they may be qualified or not,  such as type of sales experience, vs years of sales experience, for example, or specific types of graphic design experience vs years of graphic design experience, it is possible that a large numbers of false positives may be received.  These must still be logged, invited, tracked, etc, increasing the administrative burden.

There are a limited number of variations to recruitment requirements for LMIAs.  Currently, positions in academia, warranty service work, owners and operators of businesses, and the film and tv industry have variations to recruitment requirements.  There are also numerous work permit options that do not need a successful LMIA process to obtain a work authorization for a foreign national, but these exceptions are highly specific to individual circumstances.

We appreciate Stanley’s time explaining these details.  If you do have specific questions, please contact Stanley directly at [email protected].  If you need to find a specialized foreign employee to bring to Canada under an LMIA or other avenue, then please contact me, [email protected].  I will find them and Stanley can help strategize possible options to obtain a Canadian work authorization for them.