Canada: Changes To Canada’s Labour Market Opinion Process And The Temporary Foreign Worker Program

In the latter half of 2013 there have been significant changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and specifically to the rules relating to obtaining Labour Market Opinions (LMOs).  Many of these changes are set out in this government announcement:  Changes to LMO Rules Effective July 31.

These new rules made major changes to the recruiting and advertising requirements, in order to ensure that employers look for qualified Canadians or permanent residents before hiring foreign workers. 

There will be further changes as greater compliance obligations will be placed on employers under the TFWP.

Changes to LMO Rules

The main changes are set out below:

1.  Employers seeking an LMO must pay a fee of $275 per temporary foreign worker requested.

2.  Increased recruiting obligations were introduced.  This lengthens the time it takes to be able to a hire foreign workers under an LMO-based work permit. Some of these changes are set out below.

  • Employers must advertise available positions in Canada for at least 4 consecutive weeks (it used to be 14 days) before applying for an LMO. This 4 week requirement applies to all advertising methods.
  • The position must be posted on the national Job Bank or its provincial/territorial counterpart for positions located in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Quebec or Newfoundland and Labrador. Prior to this, employers did not have to post managerial or professional positions (NOC 0 and A) on the Job Bank or provincial equivalent. 

However, the Guidelines posted on Service Canada's website also state that "Employers recruiting higher-skilled workers, in areas where the use of the Job Bank or its provincial/territorial counterparts is not considered an effective method of recruitment, must provide a written explanation of the alternative method used with their LMO application".  This suggests that for some senior positions, employers may not have to use the Job Bank, if a strong rationale for not doing so can be provided.  However, it is unclear how this will be interpreted by reviewing officers.

  • Employers must advertise using at least 2 or more additional methods of recruitment (in addition to the Job Bank/provincial equivalent listing) consistent with the normal practice for the occupation. At a minimum, one of those additional methods must be national in scope. This can include general employment websites or specialized websites focusing on a particular occupation or industry. The guidelines set out some examples.
  • The required content of job advertisements has been expanded. For example, employers must now include wage information for NOC 0 and A positions, whereas before the changes this was only required to be in job listings for NOC B and low skill positions. The name of the employer must also appear on job listings.
  • Employers must continue to advertise the available position and actively seek qualified Canadians and permanent residents until the date they receive notification that an LMO has been issued.  Employers will need to be able to demonstrate ongoing efforts during the time the LMO application is being processed at Service Canada.
  • The new advertising requirements do not apply to the Live-in Caregiver Program, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream
  • Further information on the recruiting rules for higher skilled positions is available at this link under "Recruitment and Advertising" -  Service Canada Guidelines

3.  English and French are the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement, both in LMO requests and in advertisements by employers applying to hire foreign workers, unless employers can clearly demonstrate that another language is essential for the position and is consistent with the regular requirements of the position.   It remains to be seen how officers will interpret when a language requirement is a bona fide job requirement.

4.   The LMO application form has been changed to add questions regarding outsourcing and the impact on the Canadian labour market. The employer declaration section has also been expanded. For example, employers must now declare that the entry of the foreign worker "is not expected to lead to job loss by any Canadian or permanent resident for the duration of this Labour Market Opinion and for two years thereafter."

The revised application form is here - LMO Application Form for Higher Skilled Positions

Impact on Employers

Employers need to be aware of the new rules. 

Employers that have used the TFWP in the past must be careful not to rely on old forms, or prior advertising practices. Employers should monitor the TFWP guidelines on Service Canada's website, as these are changed from time to time, without prior notice.

A failure to meet the recruiting requirements will only be discovered by the reviewing officer when the application is actually assessed which will be at least some weeks after the application is filed.  If there is an issue with the advertising being inadequate, the LMO application will likely be refused.  This would require an employer to repeat the whole process, after once again advertising for at least 4 weeks.  Consequently, it is imperative that employers meet the recruiting guidelines at the outset.

It remains to be seen how officers will deal with some of the new guidelines and potential issues.  For example, the new guidelines indicate that salary and benefits must be set out for all positions, including senior managerial positions.  The name of the employer also must be set out in any job listings. 

The new content requirements may have serious negative repercussions on employers.  For example, there may be a concern about publicly listing salaries or salary ranges of executives.  Also, the requirement to name the employer means that if the candidate is an incumbent for whom the employer is seeking a new LMO, the employer is forced to set out in a very public way that they are seeking to fill the position.  This could also cause negative consequences in terms of customer relations.  If customers of a company learn through the public advertising that a company is seeking to replace a senior executive, they may have concerns about the company.  Competitors might learn of the advertising and try to use that as a competitive advantage with customers.  It is not clear whether concerns such as this will be taken into consideration by Service Canada when reviewing applications for senior managerial positions filed under the new guidelines. 

LMOs for Quebec Based Foreign Workers

Employers hiring temporary foreign workers in Quebec under an LMO usually must, as part of the process, also obtain permission from Quebec's MICC (Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles).  This requires the filing of an application to MICC (see Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers in Quebec for information on the process).  A copy of the LMO application filed with Service Canada must be filed with MICC along with what MICC requires.

It was announced in October that MICC would no longer process LMO applications submitted in English (except for applications made under the Live-in Caregiver Program).  Therefore, LMO applications for Quebec-bound workers that require a MICC approval will need to be in French.  See this link for further information:  Announcement regarding LMO language requirement.

Employer Compliance Reviews

Employers using the TFWP also need to be aware of increased compliance activity on behalf of Service Canada.  Employers may be randomly selected to undergo an Employer Compliance Review (ECR) where a compliance officer reviews past LMOs to ensure that the employer provided "substantially the same" terms of employment to the temporary foreign worker as were set out in past LMO applications and confirmations.

A finding of non-compliance could mean a two year ban on the employer being able to use the TFWP.

An ECR will suspend the processing of the current LMO application that triggered the ECR.  There does not appear to be a set protocol or timeline relating to ECR reviews, which make them very frustrating to deal with, especially where an employer is dealing with a candidate who is on a work permit that may expire before the ECR runs its course.  

Given the increasing emphasis on compliance, it is very important for employers to ensure that they provide the wages, hours and conditions of employment that were set out in the LMO confirmation received from Service Canada.  Records should be maintained to prove compliance. 

Before any potential changes to the terms of employment of an LMO-based work permit holder, a review should be done to determine whether a new LMO may need to be obtained. 

The "Declaration of Employer" that employers sign in the LMO application form includes the following:  "I will immediately inform Service Canada of any subsequent changes related to the foreign workers' terms and conditions of employment."

Consideration must therefore be given to sending Service Canada notice of any changes to the terms of employment so that there is a record on file in case the employer faces a subsequent ECR, and to determine if a new LMO may be needed, as the change may be significant enough that the labour market may need to be tested again to see if there are qualified Canadians interested in the position. 

Future Changes – new Regulations under IRPA

New regulations under IRPA are to be introduced, probably by the end of 2013, that will increase compliance obligations on employers further.  The changes will greatly increase the investigative powers of Service Canada and Immigration Canada officers. For example, it is expected that they will be given power to enter premises without a warrant, and to demand documents in order to investigate non-compliance with the TFWP rules.  As well, compliance reviews will be able to go back six years instead of the current two year timeline.

We will provide a further update when the final version of the new Regulations are announced.


The compliance pendulum is swinging against employers.  Employers that utilize the TFWP to meet human resources and skills needs will need to be aware of these changes, given the penalties they could face for non-compliance, and the negative effect on their operations that this could entail.

This new reality means that employers should implement internal policies and best practices to minimize the risk of non-compliance.  Policies and practices relating to the recruiting, hiring, and management of temporary foreign workers need to be implemented.  Proper document management and retention policies must be put in place to ensure that employers can quickly and effectively deal with requests for documentation under an ECR or if an investigation occurs. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
8 Nov 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

The prospect of an internal investigation raises many thorny issues. This presentation will canvass some of the potential triggering events, and discuss how to structure an investigation, retain forensic assistance and manage the inevitable ethical issues that will arise.

22 Nov 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

From the boardroom to the shop floor, effective organizations recognize the value of having a diverse workplace. This presentation will explore effective strategies to promote diversity, defeat bias and encourage a broader community outlook.

7 Dec 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

Staying local but going global presents its challenges. Gowling WLG lawyers offer an international roundtable on doing business in the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia. This three-hour session will videoconference in lawyers from around the world to discuss business and intellectual property hurdles.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.