Low-Wage and High-Wage LMIA (Detailed Guide)

Low-Wage and High-Wage LMIA (Detailed Guide)

The Low-Wage and High-Wage Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) designations play a crucial role in the Canadian immigration system, specifically in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that assesses the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian labor market. In the context of wages, the LMIA distinguishes between low-wage and high-wage positions.

Low-wage positions typically refer to jobs where the wage offered falls below the median hourly wage for a specific occupation and region, while high-wage positions exceed this threshold.

The distinction is important for employers seeking to hire foreign workers, as different requirements and conditions apply based on the wage level. Ensuring that foreign workers are not taking jobs that could be filled by Canadians and that they are compensated fairly are key considerations in the LMIA process, contributing to the integrity of the Canadian labor market.

Low-Wage and High-Wage Occupations

Occupation CategoryExample Low-Wage OccupationsExample High-Wage Occupations
HealthcarePersonal Support Worker, Home Care AideRegistered Nurse, Physician, Specialist Medical Practitioner
Information TechnologyTechnical Support Specialist, Data Entry ClerkSoftware Developer, IT Project Manager, Cybersecurity Analyst
Skilled TradesRetail Sales Associate, CashierElectrician, Plumber, Welder, Construction Manager
ManufacturingGeneral Laborer, Production WorkerManufacturing Engineer, Quality Control Manager
HospitalityFast Food Worker, ServerChef, Restaurant Manager, Hotel Operations Manager
RetailSales Associate, CashierStore Manager, Retail Buyer, Merchandising Manager
AgricultureFarm Laborer, Crop PickerAgricultural Engineer, Farm Manager, Agronomist
AdministrativeReceptionist, Administrative AssistantExecutive Assistant, Office Manager, Human Resources Specialist
Customer ServiceCall Center Representative, Customer Support AgentCustomer Service Manager, Client Relations Specialist
ConstructionLaborer, Construction HelperCarpenter, Site Supervisor, Civil Engineer

Median hourly wages by province or territory

The decision to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in either the high-wage or low-wage stream depends on the salary offered for the position. Each stream has distinct requirements.

  • Suppose the wage offered to a temporary foreign worker (TFW) is equal to or surpasses the provincial or territorial median hourly wage. In that case, the application should be made under the high-wage positions stream.
  • Conversely, if the wage falls below the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, the appropriate stream for application is the low-wage positions stream
Province/TerritoryMedian Hourly Wages before May 31, 2023Median Hourly Wages as of May 31, 2023
British Columbia$26.44$27.50
New Brunswick$21.79$23.00
Newfoundland and Labrador$24.29$25.00
Northwest Territories$37.30$38.00
Nova Scotia$22.00$22.97
Prince Edward Island$21.63$22.50

Highest-demand occupations

  • Expedited processing of LMIA applications by ESDC is subject to meeting a 10-day service standard, contingent upon specific conditions.
  • To qualify for the 10-day service standard, the LMIA application must be complete and free of any missing information.
  • ESDC should not require additional time for consultation or clarification related to the application.
  • The employer should not be selected for a compliance review, ensuring a smooth and expedited processing timeline.
  • According to the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, certain occupational categories, particularly those in the highest-demand sector, benefit from a 10-business-day service standard for LMIA issuance.
  • The 10-day service standard is specifically applicable to skilled trades positions within the highest-demand category, provided that the offered wage is at or exceeds the provincial/territorial median wage.
  • Skilled trades positions eligible for the expedited processing are crucial for major infrastructure and natural resource extraction projects, playing a vital role in fostering Canadian economic growth.
NOC CodeOccupation Title
72011Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
72013Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
72014Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
72020Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
72021Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
82010Supervisors, logging and forestry
82020Supervisors, mining and quarrying
82021Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
83110Logging machinery operators
82030Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
92010Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
92011Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
92013Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
93100Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
92100Power engineers and power systems operators
92101Water and waste treatment plant operators
72100Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
72102Sheet metal workers
72104Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
72106Welders and related machine operators
72200Electricians (except industrial and power system)
72201Industrial electricians
72202Power system electricians
72203Electrical power line and cable workers
72204Telecommunications line and cable workers
72205Telecommunications installation and repair workers
72301Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
72302Gas fitters
72400Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
72401Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
72402Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
72403Railway carmen/women
72404Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
72406Elevator constructors and mechanics
73500Crane operators
73402Drillers and blasters – surface, mining, quarrying and construction
72501Water well drillers
83100Underground production and development miners
83101Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
93101Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators

Key Differences Between High-Wage and Low-Wage Positions:

CriteriaHigh-Wage PositionsLow-Wage Positions
Wage LevelAt or above provincial/territorial median hourly wageBelow provincial/territorial median hourly wage
Application StreamHigh-Wage Positions StreamLow-Wage Positions Stream
LMIA Application RequirementsSpecific requirements for high-wage positions applySpecific requirements for low-wage positions apply
Advertising Duration14 calendar days28 calendar days
Advertising PlatformsMust use at least 3 different recruitment methodsMust use at least 3 different recruitment methods
Impact on the Canadian WorkforceEmphasis on demonstrating minimal impact on local labor marketEmphasis on demonstrating minimal impact on local labor market
Processing Fee (as of last knowledge update in 2022)Higher processing feeLower processing fee
Wage Increases and Overtime PayMay be subject to wage increases and overtime pay regulationsMay be subject to wage increases and overtime pay regulations
Exemptions and Special ConsiderationsSome exemptions may apply, and additional considerations may be necessarySome exemptions may apply, and additional considerations may be necessary

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is it possible to hire a foreign worker for a part-time position?

Employers utilizing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), regulated by the LMIA process, are required to offer full-time positions, encompassing a minimum of 30 hours per week.

Q: Can I apply for an LMIA if my business is newly established?

Certainly, new businesses have the option to apply for an LMIA. However, they must substantiate their viability and ability to adhere to LMIA conditions, including ensuring the provision of agreed-upon wages and working conditions for the foreign worker.

Q: Is there an avenue for appealing a rejected LMIA application?

Although there isn’t a formal appeal process for a rejected LMIA, employers can submit a request for reconsideration if they believe an error occurred during the assessment phase


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