July 30, 2014 – Recent reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program included a new delineation between “high-wage” and “low-wage” occupations, with new transition plan requirements for the former and new program caps and restrictions for the latter.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has now clarified the wage requirement.
The wage category, and associated program requirements and restrictions, is determined based on the prevailing wage for the occupation in relation to the median wage in that province or territory. Occupations where the prevailing wage is at-or-above the median wage in a province or territory are “high-wage” occupations. Occupations where the prevailing wage is lower than the median wage in a province or territory are “low-wage” occupations. It was previously understood that the program would be delineated based on the wage being offered and advertised as part of the Labour Market Impact Assessment. It is important that clients understand that as a result of this clarification, the wage being offered has no bearing on the various requirements or restrictions that will form part of the LMIA applications, including the availability of expedited processing.
For information on prevailing wage by occupation, please see the Working in Canada website.
For the current median wage by province, please see Employment and Social Development website.
This clarification will have a significant impact on employers who are currently in the process of completing Labour Market Impact Assessment applications. Program restrictions for low-wage occupations, including caps on low-wage workers and a moratorium on permits in certain industries and sectors in regions of high unemployment, will apply irrespective of the wage being offered.
If you have any questions about this clarification or would like to discuss the particulars of your case please contact Green and Spiegel LLP.