The Temporary Foreign Worker Program aims to recognize and manage labour shortages in Canada. The program is an accelerated route to work permits and closing the gap in the necessary skill set by hiring suitable foreign workers. The TFWP is jointly operated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

The TFWP helps Canadian employers hire the foreign talent they need. It also makes sure that these foreign workers receive the rights and protections they deserve to be safely employed in Canada. Under the TFWP, employers may hire temporary foreign workers through the following streams:

An employer who seeks to hire a foreign national through TFWP must first obtain an LMIA. They must demonstrate that they were unable to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position. Following this, the employer will be able to officially hire a foreign national, who in turn applies for a Canadian work permit.

LMIA Work Permits

In most cases, employers are required to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can hire foreign. In order to obtain a positive LMIA, a Canadian employer must prove that there is no Canadian or permanent resident worker available to complete the job in question and a foreign worker is therefore required.
LMIA applications should show the following:

  • Efforts made to recruit available Canadian citizens/permanent residents
  • Wages offered for the position are consistent with the prevailing wage rate paid to Canadians/permanent residents in the same occupation in the region
  • Working conditions for the occupation meets the current provincial labour market standards
  • Any potential benefits that hiring a foreign worker might bring to the Canadian labour market, such as the creation of new jobs or the transfer of skills and knowledge; and
  • Transition plans will be required for high-wage positions whereby employers must demonstrate increased efforts to hire Canadians in the long-term.

The positive LMIA is provided to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which is typically issued for one year if granted. LMIAs are overseen by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position applied for.

There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades within top 10% of pay bracket and for positions that are less than 120 days.

Facilitated LMIA (Quebec)

Unlike the other provinces, Quebec enjoys more autonomy from the federal government in their immigration policies and procedures hence their immigration programs differ from the other provinces. There are a few distinctions pertaining to the hiring of foreign workers in Quebec. Quebec enjoys a simplified hiring process of foreign workers through the facilitated LMIA process. This allows Quebec employers to apply for LMIAs without having to provide evidence that they made efforts to recruit a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position.

Quebec’s facilitated LMIA process is quite like the other province however with a few differences as follows:

Job Advertisement: This does not require employers to submit evidence that they have advertised the position and made efforts to recruit a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the position.
Occupations in demand: Employers can only submit applications for professions in high demand. There is usually a labour shortage of such professions in the region where they are located.
Language: All applications for LMIAs submitted in the province of Quebec must be submitted in French, except applications submitted for In-Home Caregiver positions.

Submission Requirements: In order to be eligible to submit an application for a facilitated LMIA applications must be approved by both the federal and provincial authorities and the employer needs to ensure the position is on the list of eligible occupations for that region.

Global Talent Stream

This is a two-year pilot program to hire highly skilled global talent, which began on June 12, 2017, under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The Global Talent Stream Pilot is a key part of the Innovation and Skills Plan which has as a primary objective making Canada a world-leading centre for innovation. The main characteristic of this pilot program is the Labour Market Benefits Plan to detail the specific benefits for the Canadian Labour market and the Canadian economy, and employers must provide activities and targets for each benefit. By taking into employment highly skilled global talent, the employer must commit to providing both mandatory and complementary benefits, depending on the category they apply under:

Category A

  • Referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of Global Talent Stream’s designated partners;
  • Hiring unique and specialized talent;
  • Mandatory benefits for Category A jobs

Category B

  • Only the occupations on the Global Talent occupations list
  • Mandatory benefits for Category B: increasing skills and training investments

Alongside job creation and investment in skills and training, other benefits are transferring knowledge to Canadians and permanent residents and enhanced company performance.

There is no advertising requirement and no transition plan for this stream; however, there is a mandatory progress review of the employer’s progress on their commitments made in the Labour Market Benefits Plan.
There are other temporary worker options which allow employers to hire workers without requiring an LMIA.

These options are designed to process LMIA-exempt work permit applications: