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Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

High | low Positions LMIA

When applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), understanding the wage structure set by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is vital for categorizing the application correctly. In Canada, each occupation has three wage levels – low, median, and high – based on the specific region. For example, as of January 2024, a carpenter in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland earns $20 (low), $30 (median), and $39 (high) per hour. However, these rates vary across different regions. Additionally, the provincial median wage, which is distinct from occupational wages, is the average wage across all occupations within a province or territory. For instance, British Columbia’s median wage is $27.50 per hour as of January 2024. In LMIA applications, the wage offered to a foreign worker must meet or exceed the occupational median wage for the specific region. A high-wage LMIA is required when the offered wage is at or above the provincial median wage. However, a low-wage LMIA applies when the offered wage is below the provincial median.

High-Wage LMIA

A high-wage LMIA application is made when the wage offered to a foreign worker is at or above the provincial or territorial median hourly wage. This type of application is typically associated with occupations that offer higher wages due to factors like skill level, experience requirements, and regional economic conditions. High-wage LMIA applications often require the employer to submit a transition plan, demonstrating efforts to reduce reliance on temporary foreign workers by hiring and training Canadian citizens or permanent residents. 

Key Requirements of High-wage LMIA Application

Transition plan: Submitting a transition plan is a mandatory and crucial requirement for a high-wage LMIA application. It’s your strategy to hire and retain Canadian workers, reducing dependency on temporary foreign workers (TFWs). This plan is mandatory for first-time applicants and repeat applicants, with a focus on previous commitments’ effectiveness. This is achieved by increasing efforts at hiring, training, and retaining Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Here’s how to effectively craft a transition plan for a high-wage LMIA application:

Identify the Role and Its Requirements: Make sure that you clearly define the job for which you are hiring a foreign worker. Describe the skills and experience required. For example, if you are looking for a high-tech position, specify the technical skills and qualifications necessary.

Market Analysis and Recruitment Efforts: Conduct a thorough market analysis to justify the need for foreign workers. Document your recruitment efforts, showing that you have attempted to hire Canadians first. For instance, detail how you advertised on multiple Canadian job boards and participated in local job fairs.

Training and Development Programs: Outline your plans for training current employees or new Canadian hires. This could include on-the-job training, mentorship programs, or professional development courses. For example, if you are hiring a foreign IT specialist, you might implement a training program to upskill existing staff in advanced IT skills.

Succession Planning: Describe how you plan to transition key roles to Canadian workers over time. This could involve identifying potential candidates within your organization and providing them with the necessary training and experience. For instance, you might have a junior engineer shadowing a senior foreign engineer with the goal of eventually filling that position.

Collaboration with Educational Institutions: Mention any partnerships with local colleges or universities to create pathways for students or graduates to join your organization. For example, creating internships or co-op positions specifically for Canadian students in relevant fields.

Supporting Permanent Residency: If applicable, include plans to support temporary foreign workers in obtaining permanent residency, thereby contributing to the Canadian workforce.

Practical Examples

Here are some examples of transition plan activities. These activities should be tailored specifically to your business type, occupation, and location. Make sure the transition plan is realistic and aligns with your business. Remember, you may be asked to submit evidence of these transition plan activities in successive LMIA applications for the same position and same location. 

Flexibility and Tuition Support: Encourage employees’ educational pursuits by offering flexible or remote work options and tuition reimbursement. This improves their skills and fosters loyalty and long-term retention.

Referral Incentive Program: Utilize your existing employees’ networks by implementing a referral program. Reward employees with bonuses for referring qualified candidates who are hired and stay with the company, attracting suitable Canadian talent.

Relocation Assistance for New Hires: Attract a broader range of Canadian talent by offering financial support for relocation expenses to candidates from other cities or provinces.

Skills Development and Training Programs: Promote continuous skill enhancement through workshops and training sessions in areas such as technology, communication, or industry-specific tools, like monthly skill enhancement workshops.

Career Advancement Opportunities: Establish clear career progression paths, including leadership training. For instance, a ‘Future Leaders’ mentorship program could be developed for high-potential employees.

Employee Engagement and Retention Initiatives: Improve work-life balance and recognize achievements through programs like ‘Employee of the Month’ and flexible working arrangements.

Recruitment and Referral Programs: Broaden recruitment efforts to include more Canadians and permanent residents and motivate employees to refer qualified candidates with successful placement incentives.

Community and Educational Partnerships: Forge partnerships with educational institutions for programs like internships or co-ops, collaborating with local colleges, for instance.

Competitive Compensation and Incentives: Offer regular wage increases in line with industry standards and living costs and provide annual performance-based bonuses. Implement a structured annual review system where employees are rewarded based on performance metrics.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: Develop programs that promote diversity and inclusion within the workplace. This can involve sensitivity training, celebrating cultural events, and ensuring representation from various backgrounds in decision-making roles. Such initiatives not only create a more welcoming environment but also attract a diverse talent pool.

Health and Wellness Programs: Implement comprehensive health and wellness programs that cater to physical and mental health. Offer services like on-site fitness facilities, mental health days, and counseling services. A healthy workforce is more productive and shows a company’s commitment to its employees’ overall well-being.

Flexible Benefits Packages: Customize benefits packages to meet the varied needs of your employees. This could include options like childcare assistance, eldercare support, or extended health insurance coverage. Flexible benefits show that the company values employees outside responsibilities and personal needs.

Internal Communication Enhancements: Improve internal communication channels to ensure that employees feel heard and valued. Regular town hall meetings, anonymous feedback systems, and open-door policies with management can foster a sense of transparency and trust.

Work Environment Improvement: Invest in a comfortable and stimulating work environment. This could mean ergonomic workstations, collaborative spaces, and recreational areas. A pleasant work environment can significantly boost morale and productivity.

Leadership Training and Development: Offer leadership development programs to nurture internal talent. This includes mentorship programs, leadership workshops, and cross-departmental training. Investing in employees’ growth signals a commitment to their career development and can lead to higher retention rates.

Social Responsibility and Community Engagement: Engage in social responsibility initiatives and community projects. Employees often feel a greater sense of pride and commitment when they work for organizations that contribute positively to society.

Regular Performance and Satisfaction Assessments: Conduct regular performance reviews and employee satisfaction surveys to identify areas of improvement. Addressing concerns and recognizing achievements promptly can significantly impact employee satisfaction and loyalty.

When a Transition Plan is Not Required: Transition plans are not required for certain positions, such as those in the home care sector, some agricultural jobs, and jobs requiring unique skills. LMIA applications requesting permanent residency do not require a transition plan either.

Compliance with Repeating Applications: If you’re submitting another LMIA application for the same position and location, you must provide evidence of the activities undertaken as per your previous transition plan. Failure to comply with the commitments of your previous transition plan may lead to the refusal of your new LMIA application. It’s crucial to document and fulfill the strategies outlined in your transition plan to ensure ongoing LMIA approval.

A well-crafted transition plan, featuring strategies like educational support, referral incentives, and relocation assistance, demonstrates your commitment to strengthening the Canadian workforce. Incorporating sector-specific transition plan activities into your LMIA application showcases a proactive approach to fostering a skilled Canadian workforce. Whether it’s in the food, hospitality, construction, or retail industry, these strategies not only align with LMIA requirements but also contribute to your organization’s growth and employee skill enhancement. 

Low-Wage LMIA

A low-wage LMIA application is necessary when the wage offered to a foreign worker is below the provincial or territorial median hourly wage. Low-wage LMIAs are common in industries with higher volumes of entry-level or less specialized positions. Unlike high-wage LMIA applications, employers submitting low-wage LMIA applications are not required to provide a transition plan. However, they are subject to specific requirements, such as caps on the proportion of low-wage temporary foreign workers and obligations related to transportation, accommodation, and health insurance for these workers.

Key Program Requirements

Cap: In the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the ‘cap‘ limits the number of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) employers can hire in low-wage positions at a specific location. This cap is strategically implemented to ensure jobs are available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Employers seeking to hire under the TFWP must carefully complete the “Cap for low-wage positions” section of their LMIA applications and may need to provide supplementary documentation such as payroll records. The cap varies by sector, with certain industries having specific limits based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Exemptions to this cap exist in various categories, including agricultural and healthcare positions, as well as in short-term or seasonal roles, and under unique arrangements like the Quebec pilot project.

Transportation Costs: Employers hiring TFWs are responsible for covering round-trip transportation costs. This includes ensuring TFWs are transported from their home country to Canada and back. Additionally, if the TFW is already in Canada, the employer is obliged to cover their transportation expenses from their current location to the new work site within Canada.

Accommodation Requirements: It’s the employer’s duty to ensure the availability of suitable and affordable housing for TFWs close to their workplace. In some cases, employers may be required to provide the worker with appropriate accommodation to ensure worker comfort and accessibility to the job site.

Health and Workplace Safety: Providing private health insurance to TFWs until they are eligible for provincial health coverage is mandatory. This is a vital aspect of worker well-being. Furthermore, registering TFWs with the provincial or territorial workplace safety board is a critical step in ensuring their health and safety at the workplace.

Employment Contract: An employment contract, outlining both parties’ rights and obligations, is fundamental. This contract must be prepared and signed by both the employer and the TFW. It’s imperative that the TFW signs the contract before their arrival in Canada, establishing a clear understanding of the employment terms and conditions.

How Can X can help?

Can X offer specialized and expert assistance in navigating the complexities of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, supports employers in securing work permits for their foreign workers, and provides comprehensive compliance services. Our services are designed to cater to the needs of employers, ensuring compliance with the ever-changing LMIA rules, regulations, and requirements, facilitating the work permit application process, and maintaining adherence to compliance standards.


Up to Date LMIA Regulation Monitoring: Can X continuously tracks and researches the latest LMIA changes, keeping our clients informed about impacts on various job categories, durations, exemptions, etc. This is crucial for businesses needing to stay current with Canadian immigration and employment laws.

Eligibility Assessment and Advice: Our team at Can X expertly assesses client profiles, providing personalized advice on their eligibility for an LMIA. We ensure that each client understands the criteria and requirements for a positive outcome.

Assistance with Advertisement Posting: Can X guide clients through the LMIA-required job advertisement process, ensuring compliance with Canadian employment regulations.

Comprehensive Application Support and Legal Representation: Our experienced professionals at Can X assist in preparing and submitting LMIA applications and offer robust legal representation before Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Work Permit Application Assistance: Can X also helps employers in securing work permits for their foreign workers. Regardless of where the foreign worker is located, our diverse team of experts provides full support throughout the work permit application process, ensuring a smooth and successful experience.

Compliance Services: Can X provide services for ensuring and maintaining compliance. We pride ourselves on the fact that none of our employers have been found noncompliant so far. Our services extend beyond obtaining a positive LMIA; we offer comprehensive solutions including addressing and preparing compliance responses to ESDC inquiries and audits.

Diverse Clientele and Proven Success: Can X has successfully secured positive LMIA results, work permits, and ensured compliance for a wide range of employers, including major corporations and small businesses across various industries.

100% Success Rate for Qualified Employers: Can X proudly boasts a 100% success rate in obtaining positive LMIA outcomes for employers who meet the qualifying criteria. Our unmatched success rate demonstrates our expertise and commitment to excellence. 

Our approach at Can X is to maximize the chances of successful LMIA application, work permit approvals, and compliance maintenance. Our dedicated team provides comprehensive, efficient, and effective solutions for all your immigration, employment, and compliance needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs ) High | Low Wage LMIA

A high-wage LMIA is required when the wage offered is at or above the provincial median hourly wage.

When the offered wage is below the provincial median hourly wage, a low-wage LMIA is required.

A transition plan must be submitted to reduce the reliance on foreign workers and to hire and train Canadian citizens.

No, a transition plan is not required for low-wage LMIA applications.

A cap limits how many low-wage temporary foreign workers an employer can hire at a specific location on the basis of an LMIA-based job offer.

Wage levels are determined by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) based on regional and provincial standards.

Yes, exemptions include certain positions in agriculture, healthcare, short-term roles, and under specific arrangements like the Quebec pilot project.

Transport costs must be covered by employers for TFWs from their home country to Canada and back, or within Canada if already employed under a low-wage LMIA.

A suitable and affordable housing option must be available near the workplace for low-wage LMIA TFWs.

Employers need to provide private health insurance until TFWs are eligible for provincial coverage and register them with the workplace safety board.

It’s a contract outlining the rights and obligations of both the employer and the TFW, signed before the worker’s arrival in Canada.

Yes! LMIA rules and requirements can change, often involving job categories, durations, and exemptions.

A transition plan is a strategy submitted with a high-wage LMIA application, detailing how the employer intends to reduce dependence on temporary foreign workers by focusing on hiring and training Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

The plan should be comprehensive, outlining specific actions and measurable goals. It should clearly demonstrate the employer’s commitment to reducing reliance on foreign workers and increasing employment opportunities for Canadians.

While certain elements of a transition plan might be applicable across multiple applications, it should be tailored to each specific job and application.

While the fundamental requirements of a transition plan are consistent, the specific strategies and actions may vary based on industry, job type, and location.

other Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Pathways