Beware High Risk Employers of Temporary Foreign Workers

Employers Must Demonstrate that they’ve Tried to Recruit Talent Locally before Hiring Foreign Workers

As CBC News reports, many employers are being fined or banned for inappropriate use of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program. The main reason was failure to make sufficient efforts to find local workers first. Concerns resulting from this include local unemployment and foreign worker conditions. In response to these issues, the Liberal government is increasingly flagging high-risk employers for inspection by the Employment and Social Development Department, and integrity officers are now able to penalize these employers faster.

What Are the Rules? LMIAs (Labour Market Impact Assessment) and Work Permits

One of the most important things an employer must do before seeking employees outside Canada is to check whether they can hire a Canadian instead. According to, with some exceptions, employers are required to secure a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before hiring a temporary foreign worker; an LMIA “verifies that there is a need for a temporary worker and that no Canadians are available to do the job.” The government also looks at applications for LMIAs to see whether an employer meets the following criteria:foreign workers stats - with and without LMOs

  • can fulfill all of the terms of the job offer;
  • [is] providing a good or a service in Canada or are applying for an in-home caregiver position; and
  • [is] offering employment that is consistent with the needs of the business.


Unless a specific LMIA exemption code applies, the employer will need to apply and pay for an LMIA; this is NOT the employee’s responsibility.

A successful LMIA isn’t the end of the process either. The LMIA is the employer’s responsibility; in most cases, the potential employee needs to then get a work permit so they can be employed in Canada legally. Among other requirements, the applicant must be able to prove that they will be in Canada temporarily and will leave at the end of their work permit. The applicant will also need to show evidence that they are qualified to do the job they are being hired to perform. A temporary foreign work permit application will include gathering the necessary documents, such as proof of education or work experience, as well as a copy of the approved LMIA (if necessary) and the employment contract. Additional requirements, such as a medical examination and an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa, will depend on your individual case.

What this Means for Temporary Foreign Workers

Workers should always be careful to look into the companies they apply to; with increased attention being paid to the issues with the temporary foreign worker program, making sure an employer has followed all the necessary steps and is legitimate takes on even greater importance. Knowing what is required can be confusing, but making sure that everything is done correctly is paramount. Working in Canada can open up a lot of opportunities, while an improperly done application (by the employer or potential employee) can close a lot of doors.

Do You Need Help?

Are you unsure of whether you can accept a job that’s been offered to you? Do you need assistance with your application for a work permit or an LMIA? Contact us so we can help you ensure the decisions you make today are the right ones for your career and your future.