On April 30, 2015 the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will
begin using the latest provincial/territorial median wages based on
the 2014 Labour Force Survey results. Changes to the median wage
tables will affect the wage-stream of future LMIA applications as
well as threshold used to determine eligibility for 10-day
In June 2014, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program underwent a
series of significant reforms. As part of this reform package a
procedural test of the labour market, the Labour Market Impact
Assessment (LMIA) was introduced. The LMIA is part of the approval
process for hiring foreign nationals through the Temporary Foreign
The median wage is used to delineate between
"high-wage" and "low-wage" occupations as part
of the LMIA approval process as well as determine the threshold for
10-day expedited processing.
Provincial/Territorial Median Wages
The median wage has seen a small increase overall across Canada.
Nunavut saw the largest increase of $4/hr while Quebec and
the Northwest Territories saw no change to their median wage. In
Ontario, the median wage increased to $21.15/hr from $21.00/hr
while in Alberta, the wage increased from $24.23/hr to $25.00/hr.
For the full median wage table, please visit the ESDC website here.
Employers offering a wage above the
provincial/territorial median wage are required to prepare
transition plans as part of their LMIA application.
Employers offering a wage below the
provincial/territorial median face a cap on the number of low-wage
temporary foreign workers they may employ at any given work place.
As of July 1, 2014 a cap of 30% was imposed on the number of
low-wage temporary foreign workers at any given workplace. On July
1, 2015 the cap is reduced to 20%, and on July 1, 2016 the cap is
reduced to 10%.
In addition, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
will not approve any LMIAs for low-wage occupations in the
Accommodation, Food Services or Retail Trade sectors in regions
with unemployment at-or-above 6%.
10-day expedited processing is available for LMIA applications
where the wage offered is at-or-above the top 10% of wages in that
province or territory. As of April 30, 2015 ESDC will begin using
the new tables in order to determine the threshold for 10-day
expedited processing. For the top 10% of wages by province or
territory, please see the ESDC table here.
What Employers Need To Know
As of April 30, 2015, all new LMIA applications will be streamed
as "high-wage" or "low-wage" based on the new
provincial/territorial median wage table.
As part of their annual reviews, employers should review the
wages of all temporary foreign workers to ensure that they are
compliant with the terms of their LMIAs. This means ensuring
not only that they continue to offer at least the prevailing wage,
by occupation for that region, as determined by ESDC, but also that
the wages offered are consistent with the wage-stream of their
In addition, employers should be aware that as of July 1, 2015
only 20% of employees at any given workplace may be low-wage
temporary foreign workers.
For the provincial/territorial median wage, please see the ESDC
median wage table here.
For 10-day processing thresholds, please see the ESDC top 10% of
wages table here.
For the prevailing wage by occupation, please visit the Working
in Canada website here.
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.
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