Canada operates the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) as a means to supplement its work force when there is no qualified worker in Canada to do a job. An employer looking to hire a foreign worker in Canada often needs to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to the Canadian government. The Canadian government employee reviewing the application must determine that the hiring of the foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market. Among other factors, it must be clear that no qualified Canadians were passed up in favour of the foreign worker, and that the foreign worker will be given a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards.

The LMIA process is different depending on whether the targeted employee is classified as “high-wage” or “low-wage”. Temporary foreign workers being paid under the provincial/territorial median wage are considered low-wage, while those being paid at or above the median wage are considered high-wage.

Generally speaking, all employers must provide evidence that they have attempted to find qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill job positions before turning to foreign workers. In addition, employers may be inspected for compliance with government regulations after their employee has begun working in Canada.