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  • Writer's pictureHossein Alavi, RCIC

Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada: A Guide for Canadian Employers

Updated: Apr 11

Meeting Your Labour Needs With Temporary Foreign Workers

A Guide to Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

As businesses continue to expand and the economy grows, employers are turning to temporary foreign workers to meet their labour needs. However, the process of hiring a temporary foreign worker can be complicated, and employers must adhere to specific guidelines to ensure compliance with Canadian immigration laws. This blog post will cover the basic steps employers need to take to hire a temporary foreign worker, their obligations to temporary foreign workers, and what to do if a foreign worker becomes sick or has an accident.

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How to Hire a Temporary Foreign Worker

The process of hiring a temporary foreign worker in Canada involves three basic steps:

  1. Get a Labour Market Impact Assessment or Submit an Offer of Employment Employers must determine if they require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for the position they are trying to fill. The LMIA will verify that there is a need for the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do it. If an LMIA is not required, employers can submit an offer of employment, complete the employer attestations and certifications, and pay the employer compliance fee using the Employer Portal.

  2. Have the Worker Apply for a Work Permit Once the employer has an LMIA number or an offer of employment number, they must provide those details to the worker, along with their job offer. The worker must use this information to apply for a work permit.

  3. Tell the Worker What to Expect from their Application Employers should inform the worker that they will receive a letter of introduction when their work permit application has been approved. The actual work permit is issued by a border services officer at the port of entry when the worker arrives in Canada. If the worker is already in Canada and eligible to apply, the work permit will be mailed to them.

When Employers Don't Need a Labour Market Impact Assessment

LMIA exemptions are categories of workers who are exempted from the requirement of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to work in Canada. Some of the common LMIA exemptions include:

  1. International Mobility Program (IMP): Certain workers who fall under the IMP do not require an LMIA, such as NAFTA professionals, intra-company transferees, and certain types of exchange program participants.

  2. Significant Benefit: Foreign nationals who can demonstrate that their work in Canada will result in significant social, cultural, or economic benefits to Canada may be exempted from an LMIA.

  3. Reciprocal Employment: Canadian citizens and permanent residents who work outside Canada for a foreign employer may be exempted from an LMIA if their employer is from a country that reciprocates by not requiring an LMIA for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

  4. International Agreements: Individuals who are authorized to work in Canada under international agreements, such as the United Nations, are exempt from LMIA requirements.

  5. Charitable or Religious Work: Workers who come to Canada to do charitable or religious work, such as missionaries or volunteers, may be exempted from an LMIA.

  6. Post-Graduation Work Permit: International students who have completed a Canadian post-secondary program may be eligible to work in Canada for up to three years without an LMIA under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

It is essential to note that each LMIA exemption has specific requirements that must be met, and the process for obtaining an exemption may vary depending on the category of exemption. Employers should carefully review the LMIA exemption categories to determine if their workers are eligible for an exemption before starting the hiring process.

Employer Obligations to Temporary Foreign Workers

Employers have several obligations to temporary foreign workers, including:

  • Providing the most recent information about the workers' rights in their chosen official language of Canada before their first day of work.

  • Providing a copy of the signed employment agreement to the temporary worker, including information on their wages, working conditions, and occupation, as listed in the offer of employment or LMIA.

  • Ensuring the temporary workers have their work permits.

  • Making sure that the temporary workers follow the conditions and time limits outlined on their work permit.

  • Complying with provincial, territorial, or federal employment laws.

  • Making sure that the business remains active during the validity period of the work permit.

  • Ensuring that temporary workers are not charged any recruitment fees.

  • Making reasonable efforts to provide a workplace free of abuse and access to health care services when injured or ill in the workplace.

Layoffs or Firing of Foreign Workers

Employers can lay off or fire a temporary foreign worker as they would any other employee, provided they follow federal and provincial or territorial labour laws. Employers do not need to inform the Canadian government, but they must keep the temporary worker’s employment documents for six years from the date the work permit was issued.

Sickness or Accident of a Foreign Worker:

Temporary foreign workers are entitled to sick leave as set out in provincial or territorial legislation. Employers must not force their employees to work if they are ill. The required health or workers' compensation plan in the province or territory should cover the employee. Employers' responsibilities depend on the coverage provided under these plans, and the employee may also be able to collect Employment Insurance sickness benefits.

In summary, hiring a temporary foreign worker requires careful consideration of Canadian immigration laws and compliance with employment standards. Employers must adhere to specific guidelines throughout the hiring process, ensure they meet their obligations to temporary foreign workers, and take action if a worker becomes sick or has an accident. By understanding the process and their obligations, employers can successfully navigate the hiring of temporary foreign workers to meet their labour needs.

At Immigrative, we know that obtaining a work permit in Canada can be a daunting process. That's why our team of experienced immigration professionals offers comprehensive services to guide you through the entire process. From determining the right type of work permit to preparing and submitting your application and ensuring compliance with Canadian government requirements, we provide the support you need to achieve your goals. Whether you're an individual seeking to work in Canada or an employer looking to hire foreign workers, we can help you navigate the complexities of the Canadian immigration system. Contact us today to learn how we can simplify and streamline the process for you.


This blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For personalized advice regarding your specific immigration situation, it is recommended to consult with an authorized immigration professional.

About the Author:

This blog post is authored by Hossein Alavi, RCIC, a seasoned Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and the founder and CEO of Immigrative Visa Services Inc. and EduPal Canada. With over ten years of experience in the education and immigration sectors, he is dedicated to assisting individuals and companies with their Canadian immigration needs. Contact Immigrative Visa Services Inc. today to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward realizing your Canadian dream.


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