Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) has been implemented to help ensure that Canada's immigration system works for employers in need of skilled tradespersons that are in-demand and interested in supporting their application for permanent residence.

Description

Under this new Program, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), in partnership with the provinces and territories and federal government partners, has developed a list of eligible skilled trades which are experiencing labour shortages.

Employers interested in hiring and supporting a skilled tradesperson's application to immigrate to Canada, under the FSTP, may need to apply to Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However this will depend on the individual circumstances of the foreign worker.

If the foreign worker:

  • holds a certificate of qualification issued by a provincial/territorial authority the:
    • employer does not need to apply for an LMIA
    • foreign worker can apply directly to CIC under the FSTP.
  • does not hold a certificate of qualification issued by a provincial/territorial authority:
    • the foreign worker must have received an offer for continuous full-time employment for a minimum period of 1 year, from a maximum of 2 employers
    • if the foreign worker:
      • has a work permit, CIC could request proof that the employer has received a positive LMIA with respect to the job offer
      • does not have a work permit, a copy of the positive LMIA previously obtained by the employer must be submitted by the foreign worker, along with the permanent resident application to CIC under the FSTP.
Note:
Employers interested in supporting permanent residence of foreign workers for an occupation that is not on CIC's list of eligible skilled trades may want to consider making an offer of arranged employment under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Requirements

Employers must ensure the job offer is for continuous, full-time work for a minimum period of 1 year which can be shared between a maximum of 2 employers.

Processing Fee

Employers must pay $1,000 for each position requested (e.g. $1,000 x number of positions=total payment) to cover the cost of processing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application.

  • The processing fee payment (in Canadian dollars) can be made by:
    • certified cheque (payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
    • money order (postal or bank)
    • Visa
    • MasterCard
    • American Express
  • There will be no refund in the event of a negative LMIA, or if the application is withdrawn or cancelled by the employer since the fee covers the assessment process and not the outcome.
  • Employers requesting to have their LMIA application reconsidered, as a result of a negative LMIA, must submit a new application and processing fee for each position.
  • Refunds will only be available if a fee was collected in error (e.g. an incorrect fee amount was processed).
Note:
The processing fee does not apply to employers choosing ONLY to support a foreign national's application for a permanent resident visa.

Language Restriction

A distinct language assessment factor has been introduced as subsection 203 (1.01) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). As a result, English and French are the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement both in LMIA applications and in job advertisements by employers, unless they can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job.


Education/Training and Experience

Employers are responsible for verifying that the TFW has all the necessary training, qualifications and experience to perform the work in Canada.

Regulated Occupations

Employers hiring a TFW in regulated occupations in Canada must ensure that arrangements are made with the appropriate regulatory body for the certification, registration or licensing of the TFW. A "regulated" occupation is one where a professional or regulatory body has the authority to set entry requirements and standards of practice that lead to a certification, registration or licence (e.g. skilled trade occupations with compulsory certification).

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will consider whether the TFW has the necessary qualifications to perform the work in Canada before issuing a work permit.

Note:
If the foreign worker holds a certificate of qualification issued by a provincial/territorial authority in the skilled trade occupation the employer does not need to apply for an LMIA from ESDC/Service Canada.

Business Licence or Documentation

Under the FSTP, all employers must submit a copy of the following documents:

  • Job offer (signed by the employer and the foreign worker);
  • Proof of recruitment (e.g. copy of adverstisment and information to support where, when and for how long the position was advertised);
  • Business registration or legal incorporation documents (if first LMIA application);
  • Provincial/territorial/municipal business licence (where applicable and if first LMIA application);
  • Commercial lease agreement (if applicable);
  • Provincial documentation requirements :
    • Alberta – Employment Agency Business Licence (Alberta's Fair Trading Act), if applicable;
    • British Columbia - Employment Agency Licence (British Columbia's Employment Standards Act), if applicable;
    • Manitoba – Certificate of Registration (Manitoba's Worker Recruitment and Protection Act);
    • Nova Scotia – Certificate of Registration (Labour Standards Code).

Third-party Representatives and Recruiters

Employers do not need to use the services of a third-party representative or recruiter to apply for a TFW. However, employers who choose to use the services of one of these individuals or organizations must pay for all of the fees associated with the service and meet all of the applicable requirements.

Representatives assist employers by providing services, such as:

  • explaining and providing advice on the TFWP;
  • completing and submitting the application form and all required documents;
  • communicating with ESDC/Service Canada on the employer’s behalf; and
  • representing the employer during the application process.

Employers who wish to use the services of a representative, paid or unpaid, must complete and submit Schedule A - Appointment of a Third-party Representative. Employers must identify their representative and not simply the firm/organization employing this person.

Paid Representatives

Individuals representing or assisting employers in exchange for compensation (e.g. money, goods or services) must be authorized under section 91 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which means they have to be a member in good standing with:

  • a Canadian provincial/territorial law society, or a student-at-law under its supervision;
  • the Chambre des notaires du Québec;
  • the Province of Ontario’s law society as a paralegal; or
  • the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).

Employers should visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to verify that a specific representative is authorized to represent them or provide immigration advice.

Unpaid Representatives

Individuals representing employers for free (e.g. do not collect fees or other forms of compensation) are not subject to any restrictions under the IRPA. These individuals are usually family members, non-for-profit or religious organizations that assist employers who may not be able to complete the application process on their own.

Recruiters

Recruiters can assist employers by providing services such as:

  • placing job advertisements for the recruitment of TFWs;
  • screening potential employees;
  • making travel arrangements; and
  • negotiating wages/salaries on behalf of the employer.

Employers, using the services of a paid recruiter to represent them during the LMO application process, must complete the Third-party, Recruiter or Employer Agency Information section of the application form as well as the separate Schedule A - Appointment of a Third-party Representative. The paid recruiter representing the employer must be a member of one of the groups authorized under section 91 of the IRPA.

If a paid representative is not authorized under the IRPA, ESDC/Service Canada will continue to process the application, but will communicate with the employer directly. However, a copy of a signed letter stating that the employer is no longer using the services of the original representative will be required before the employer can:

  • hire another paid authorized representative; or
  • work with an unpaid representative.

Employers who wish to appoint another representative must also submit a new Schedule A - Appointment of a Third-party Representative.

Note:
ESDC/Service Canada:
  • reserves the right to contact employers directly when further information or documentation is required.
  • will not mediate a dispute between an employer and a third-party representative nor communicate complaints to a regulatory body on an employer’s behalf. Employers who wish to file a formal complaint against their representative should contact the appropriate regulatory body (e.g. the provincial law society, the Chambre des notaires du Québec or the ICCR). For additional information on how to file a complaint, visit CIC.

Wages, Working Conditions and Occupations

Employers hiring foreign workers must ensure these workers are paid the same wage as Canadian and permanent resident employees doing the same job in the same geographical area.

To meet the prevailing wage requirement when applying for a LMIA for the FSTP, employers must refer to the median wage posted on Working in Canada (WiC) website. For more information, employers can refer to the Stream for Higher-skilled Occupations to determine the wage they must offer the foreign workers.


Recruitment and Advertisement

Employers are required to conduct recruitment efforts to hire Canadian citizens and permanent residents, before offering a job to TFWs.

Recruitment

Recruitment is the process of finding and selecting qualified employees. All employers are encouraged to conduct ongoing recruitment efforts, including advertising the job or contacting the underrepresented groups that face barriers to employment.

Employers do not need a third-party representative or recruiter to conduct recruitment on their behalf in order to hire a TFW. However, if employers choose to use the services of a third-party representative or a recruiter, they must pay for all the fees associated with this service.


Advertisement

A job posting is an announcement of an employment opportunity in a public medium such as newspapers, job posting Internet site, bulletin boards, etc. It provides a broad exposure of the vacancy to Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada who would be potential candidates for the position.

To meet the minimum advertising requirements set by the Program, employers must advertise:

  1. On the national Job Bank or its provincial/territorial counterpart in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Quebec or Newfoundland and Labrador
    • The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of 4 weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
    • The advertisement must remain posted to actively seek qualified Canadians and permanent residents until the date a labour market opinion is issued.
  2. Using 2 or more additional methods of recruitment consistent with the normal practice for the occupation.
    • as a minimum, employers must choose one method that is national in scope, since people in higher-skilled positions are often mobile and willing to re-locate for work; and
    • employers can choose one or more recruitment methods among these:
      • print media (national or provincial/territorial newspapers, national journals, magazines with national coverage, specialized journals, professional associations magazines, newsletters, etc.);
      • general employment websites (canadastop100.com, vault.com, workopolis.com, monster.ca, etc.); and,
      • specialized websites dedicated to specific occupation profiles (e.g. accounting, marketing, biotechnology, education, engineering, etc.)
    • The advertisement must be posted for a minimum of 4 weeks starting from the first day the ad appears and is accessible to the general public.
Note:
Employers must demonstrate that the print media and websites used to advertise, target an audience that has the appropriate education, professional experience and/or skill level required for the occupation.

The advertisement must include the:

  • Company operating name
  • Business address
  • Title of position
  • Job duties (for each position, if advertising more than one vacancy)
  • Terms of employment (e.g. project based, permanent position)
  • Wage (refer to Wages, Working Conditions and Occupations tab to determine the established rate for the specific occupation and geographic area)
  • Benefits package being offered (if applicable)
  • Location of work (local area, city or town)
  • Contact information: telephone number, cell phone number, email address, fax number, or mailing address; and
  • Skills requirements:
    • Education
    • Work experience
Note:
  • 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 LMIA application
  • Third-party representatives or recruiters can be the main contact for any job advertisements posted on behalf of the employer. However, the ad must be listed under the employer's Canada Revenue Agency business number

Other methods of recruitment could include:

  • participation at job fairs;
  • partnering with training institutions or offering internships ;
  • Use of professional recruitment agencies;
  • Consultations with unions for available labour;
  • Advertising through professional associations; or
  • Recruitment within the company (e.g. considering internal candidates for the position).
    • A Human Resources Plan may outline:
      • the training opportunities for existing employees;
      • include a list of competencies for employees;
      • workshops and/or programs for professional development and career management; or
      • specific programs to target specific employees for advancement.
Note:
Employers must continue to advertise the available position and actively seek qualified Canadians and permanent residents until the date they receive notification that a labour market opinion has been issued

How to Apply

Employers who want to hire a foreign worker must submit the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application along with all the required supporting documentation to ESDC/Service Canada.

In essence, employers are applying for an opinion on the impact that hiring a foreign worker would have on Canada's job market. As a result, it is important that employers follow all the necessary steps and submit all of the required documentation.

Provincial variations to the application process

If the job is located in the province of:

  • Alberta – Employers must provide the Employment Agency Business Licence (if applicable).
  • British Columbia – Employers must provide the Employment Agency Licence (if applicable).
  • Manitoba – Employers must apply for a Certificate of Registration at Manitoba's Employment Standards Branch, Business Registration Unit, before sending the LMIA application to ESDC/Service Canada.
  • Nova Scotia – Employers must:
  • Quebec - Employers must review the process for Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers for this province.
  • Saskatchewan – Employers must:

Step-by-step – Checklist

Employers must follow the step-by-step checklist to ensure that all the documents required are submitted, otherwise there will be delays in processing the application.

Complete, sign (where applicable) and submit the following documents:

  1. LMIA Application Form (EMP5593).
    Note:
    • Employers must provide the name of the foreign national they wish to hire at the time they submit their LMIA application.
    • The processing fee does not apply to employers choosing ONLY to support a foreign national's application for a permanent resident visa.
  2. Schedule A - Appointment of a Third Party Representative (EMP5575) (if applicable).
  3. Schedule B - Impact on the Canadian Labour Market (EMP5578) (if applicable).
  4. Schedule D - Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) - Employer #2 (EMP5595) (if applicable).
  5. Job offer (signed by the employer and the foreign worker).
  6. Proof of recruitment (e.g. copy of advertisement and information to support where, when and for how long the position was advertised).
  7. Business registration or legal incorporation documents (if first LMIA application).
  8. Provincial/territorial/municipal business licence (where applicable and if first LMIA application).
  9. Commercial lease agreement (if applicable).
  10. Provincial/territorial documentation requirements:
    • Alberta – Employment Agency Business Licence (Alberta's Fair Trading Act), if applicable
    • British Columbia - Employment Agency Licence (British Columbia's Employment Standards Act), if applicable.
    • Manitoba – Certificate of Registration (Manitoba's Worker Recruitment and Protection Act)
    • Nova Scotia – Certificate of Registration (Labour Standards Code).

Employers must sign, and send the completed application and all required documentation to the Service Canada LMIA Processing Centre.

Send all documentation:

Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Service Canada LMIA Processing Centre
1 Agar Place, PO Box 7000
Saint John NB E2L 4V4

Fax:
506-636-5028
506-636-5029
1-866-585-7524 (toll-free)

For assistance - phone:
Within Canada and the United States: 1-800-367-5693 (toll-free)
Outside Canada and the United States: 506-546-7569

Note:
A complete application means that employers have:

  • filled out all of the fields in all of the necessary forms;
  • included all of the required documentation;
  • signed the forms where required; and
  • submitted the fee payment with the application.

If an application is submitted and it is not complete, Service Canada staff will inform the employer that the application will not be processed. Incomplete applications and supporting documents submitted with the application will not be retained or returned to the employer. As a result, employers are advised to submit copies, not original documents.


Labour Market Impact Assessment Processing

ESDC is working to achieve a more consistent approach to service delivery across the country while reducing red tape for some employers. As a result, applications that meet certain criteria will be processed within 10-day business days. However, employers must still meet all Program requirements as the service standard will be met by processing these applications first, not by reducing the thoroughness of the assessments done on these applications.

Applications may be processed within 10 business days, provided employers are hiring TFWs in positions that meet one or more of the established criteria, which include:

Highest-demand occupations

These occupations:

Short-duration work periods

These positions:

Highest-paid

These occupations have a prevailing wage that is, at or above the top 10% of wages in the province/territory where the job is located

Employers, who meet the criteria for processing under the 10-day service standard, will not receive this service if:

  • the application is missing information;
  • additional time is required to consult the employer on details contained in the application; or
  • the employer is selected for an Employer Compliance Review or inspection.

Note:
In Quebec applications are jointly processed by Service Canada and the ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion (MIDI), as a result, the 10-day service standard will not apply.

Next Steps

Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada will assess the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application submitted by the employer to determine what impact hiring a temporary foreign worker (TFW) would have on Canada's job market. Based on the application and the documents received, the Department will issue a positive or negative LMIA.


Labour Market Opinion Assessment Process

All LMIA applications go through a systematic assessment process to:

  1. Verify if the employer is:
    1. eligible to participate in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The list of ineligible employers appears on Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) Web site; and
    2. using an authorized third-party representative, if applicable.
  2. Verify the consistency of the job offer with federal-provincial-territorial agreements.
  3. Assess the genuineness of the job offer. The assessment is based on whether the:
    • Employer is actively engaged in the business related to the job offer;
    • job offered to the TFW is consistent with the employment needs of the employer;
    • employer can fulfil the terms and conditions of the job offer;
    • employer or the third-party representative is compliant with the relevant federal-provincial-territorial employment and recruitment legislation;
  4. Assess:
    • the impact of hiring a TFW on the labour market including:
      1. wages and working conditions offered;
      2. occupation in which the TFW will be employed;
      3. employer's recruitment and advertisement efforts;
      4. benefits to the labour market;
      5. consultations, if any, with the appropriate union; and the
      6. effect on the settlement of a labour dispute.
    • previous job offers that the employer has made to a TFW within the 2 years preceding the date of the new LMIA application. This is to determine whether the employer has provided substantially the same (STS) wages, working conditions and occupations as outlined on the previous positive LMIA letter and annex.

In addition, as part of the assessment process, ESDC/Service Canada will ensure that the employer has met all the Program Requirements.

Once the assessment process is complete, ESDC/Service Canada will notify the employer in writing of the final decision.


Positive LMIA

The employer will receive a letter confirming the approval of the LMIA application. This positive LMIA is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. For privacy reasons, the letter will not include the names of the TFWs. However, it provides specific details about the job offer, such as the wages, working conditions and occupations as well as a system file number. The names of the workers will appear in Annex B which is intended for the employer's records only, and is NOT to be shared with the TFW as it is not required for the purposes of applying for a work permit.

Once the positive LMIA letter is received, it is the employer's responsibility to:

  • send a copy of this letter to the TFW;
  • ask the TFW to apply to CIC for a work permit. The TFW must include with the work permit application a copy of the positive LMIA letter signed by both the employer and the worker.

Provincial Variations

If the job is located in Quebec, the employer must:

  • send to the TFW a copy of the:
    • positive LMIA letter issued jointly by ESDC and the ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion (MIDI)
    • Quebec Certificate of Acceptance issued by MIDI
  • ask the TFW to submit this documentation along with the work permit application to CIC. Visit CIC's Web site to find a Canadian Visa Office.

Work Permit

CIC will then assess the TFW's work permit application. If the assessment is positive, the TFW will receive a work permit to be able to work for a specific employer, under established working conditions, and for a particular duration in Canada.

Note: Some countries may require that their citizens meet certain conditions if they want to work in Canada. Employers should:

  • ask the TFW to verify if additional conditions apply,
  • contact the consulate of the foreign worker's country in Canada; or
  • visit the consulate's Web site.

Once the TFW arrives in Canada, the employer must:

  • ensure that the worker is authorized to work and check the duration of the work permit;
  • verify that the TFW's work permit indicates that it is for a job under the high-skilled; and
  • keep records of the number of regular and overtime hours the TFW has worked on a weekly/monthly basis.
Note:
Employers are not allowed to take away the TFW's identification documents such as  passport, work permit or other identification.

Employers must apply for a new LMIA when they anticipate that their need for TFWs will continue beyond the period covered by the work permit. The new LMIA application should be sent at least 4 months prior to the expiry of the work permit to ensure ESDC/Service Canada has sufficient time to process the application and for CIC to process the work permit extension.


Negative LMIA

ESDC/Service Canada issues a negative LMIA letter if the employer does not meet all the Program Requirements.


Employer Compliance

ESDC/Service Canada takes the integrity of the TFWP very seriously. Employers hiring TFWs are expected to be compliant with the TFWP, by upholding the terms and conditions of employment as stated in the original job offer and set out in the positive LMO letter and annexes.

Employers must also follow all federal/provincial/territorial employment regulations and laws, as all workers in Canada, including TFWs, have the same labour and human rights and social protections as all Canadians.

In accordance with amendments to the IRPR, (s. 203(1)(e)), all returning employers that have hired a TFW within the past 2 years and are submitting a new LMO application may be subject to an employer compliance review.

This review, often known as an STS assessment, requires employers to demonstrate that the TFWs were provided with substantially the same:

  • wages;
  • working conditions; and
  • occupation, as set out on the positive LMO letter and annexes.

More information is available in the Employer Compliance brochure.