As an employer in Canada, you may be struggling to find workers for your business. You may end up wanting to hire a foreign worker to fill the job available. Obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is one method that an employer can do to hire foreign workers.


What is an LMIA?

An LMIA is a document that an employer may need to obtain before they can hire a foreign worker. Obtaining a positive LMIA (aka Confirmation Letter) will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a position and that there were no Canadian or Permanent Resident workers available to do the job. Your application goes to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) who will process and make a determination on your application.

If you know that you would like to hire a foreign worker, but you aren’t quite certain about who that foreign worker will be, then you can submit an unnamed LMIA to get the authorization to hire a foreign worker first.


High-wage vs Low-wage LMIA

Depending on the hourly wage that you will pay the foreign worker, you will need to either do an application for a high-wage LMIA or a low-wage LMIA. You can determine this number by looking at the Government of Canada’s table on Median Hourly Wages by Province. In Manitoba as of April 30, 2022, that number is $23 meaning anything below is considered low-wage and anything at or above is considered high-wage.

The main differences between the programs are:

High Wage LMIA Low Wage LMIA
3-year employment duration 2-year employment duration
Transition plan required Transition plan not required
Recruitment requires targeting national audience Recruitment requires targeting underrepresented groups
Not responsible for transportation of worker Responsible for transportation of worker
Not responsible for accommodation of worker Responsible for providing or ensuring that accommodations are available for the worker
Not subject to a CAP on foreign workers Subject to a CAP on foreign workers



How do I obtain an LMIA?

The general process to apply for an LMIA is as follows:

  1. Determine your required number of foreign workers and if your finances can accommodate it;
  2. Post advertisements for the available positions to Canadians and Permanent Residents for at least four weeks. You should keep documentation on advertising efforts and applicants, interview potential applicants, keep notes on why applicants did not get the position;
  3. Submit an LMIA Application which includes required documentation such as business legitimacy documents, recruitment efforts, any required provincial certifications;
  4. Wait for ESDC to approve your LMIA application.


What do I do once I have an LMIA?

Once you have a positive LMIA, your foreign worker can now apply for a work permit. You will simply need to provide them with the positive LMIA to include in their work permit application along with documentation for the position (job offer, employment contract, etc.).

If you obtained an unnamed LMIA, then once you have identified your foreign worker, you will need to submit a form to ESDC to add the worker to your LMIA.

Once your foreign worker receives their work permit, they will be able to come to Canada and start working for you!


If you are interested in learning more about the LMIA process or how to hire temporary foreign workers for your business, and want to learn about how we can help you through that process,  then please give us a call at 204-944-8889 or email us at to book your consultation!

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