In most cases, a Canadian employer wishing to hire a foreign worker must first receive government approval before the hiring can take place. This approval comes in the form of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).
In order to receive a positive LMIA, the Canadian government employee reviewing an application must determine that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market.
Among other factors, it must be clear that no qualified Canadians were passed up in favour of the foreign worker, and that the foreign worker will be given a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards.
The LMIA process is different depending on whether the targeted employee is classified as “high-wage” or “low-wage”. Temporary foreign workers being paid under the provincial/territorial median wage are considered low-wage, while those being paid at or above are considered high-wage.
An LMIA is a labor market verification process whereby Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) assesses an offer of employment to ensure that the employment of a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labor market.