In Canada, hiring foreign workers comes with certain administrative hurdles for employers. Most employers need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from government authorities, which aims to show that there is a need for foreign workers (as opposed to hiring Canadians for the job). Before recruiting any candidate, employers must keep in mind certain government requirements when engaging in their hiring process.
Employers must first make solid efforts to seek Canadian and permanent resident applicants. These recruitment efforts must be deployed before offering a job to a temporary foreign worker and applying for an LMIA. Employment and Social Development Canada (Service Canada), which is responsible for processing LMIA applications, has increased its scrutiny of job advertisements. Any deviation from the following requirements may result in a refusal of the LMIA application.
Information on minimum advertisement requirements
At least three different recruitment activities must be conducted for a minimum of four consecutive weeks within the three months prior to submitting an LMIA application for a high-wage position.
The job opening must be advertised on the government of Canada’s Job Bank and on two other platforms, such as provincial or territorial job boards (in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec), general employment websites, online classified websites, and newspapers (local, regional, and national).
Recruitment methods like participating in job fairs, partnering with training institutions, using professional recruitment agencies, advertising through professional associations, or internal recruitment are also acceptable as secondary job postings. At least one of those methods must be national in scope and easily accessible by Canadian residents in different provinces and territories, and not just limited to the location of the job on offer. Job postings on Job Bank must remain online until the date a positive or negative LMIA has been issued.
In order to meet Service Canada’s requirements, all job postings must contain the following information: company operating name, business address, position title, job duties, terms of employment (project-based, permanent position), language of work, wage and benefits, location of work, contact information, and skills requirements (education and work experience).
Employers must submit proof of advertisement with their LMIA application, that is, copies of job postings and confirmation as to where, when, and for how long the position was advertised. Authorities also require proof that the advertisements target an audience with the appropriate education, job experience, and/or skills required for the occupation and any proof of other recruitment activities (which may include an invoice for job fairs or service contracts with recruitment agencies). These documents must be kept for a minimum of six years as employers may be asked to provide them in case of a compliance audit.
The advertisement requirements apply equally to LMIA applications for temporary foreign workers and permanent residence applications.
While these general rules are set by Service Canada, there are certain variations that must be kept in mind when preparing an LMIA application, and some specific rules apply to certain professions in Quebec.
Changes to the recruitment process as of August 28
It is crucial to verify the latest requirements when preparing an LMIA application as Service Canada regularly issues new instructions and rules. The most recent changes that came into effect on August 28 have an impact on the way employers must advertise their job openings and the way they assess job applications.
More precisely, all employers, irrespective of province or territory, are now required to advertise on Job Bank. Provincial job boards may be used as additional methods of recruitment. The employers must also use the Job Match service offered by Job Bank in order to meet Service Canada’s requirements. That service identifies anonymous profiles of registered jobseekers that match the skills and requirements described in job postings and ranks them using a system of one to five stars.
For a high-wage position, employers must invite all jobseekers rated four stars or more within the first 30 days of the advertising to apply for the position.
The requirements and changes mentioned above apply to “high-wage positions,” that is, wages at or above the provincial or territorial median hourly wage. Employers should keep in mind that there are different requirements for low-wage positions.
Successful LMIA applications start with good recruitment efforts. It is the first and most important step of the process. Employers must ensure that their job advertisements are rock-solid if they want to limit the risk of negative decisions and wasting a considerable amount of time, effort and money.