Canada: Employment and Social Development Canada’s updates to provincial and territorial median hourly wage impact Labour Market Impact Assessment applications

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Apr 17

In brief

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has updated provincial and territorial median hourly wages, effective April 29, 2017. These updates will determine the type of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) an employer applies for.


When applying for an LMIA, an employer may do so through one of two streams: 1) Stream for high-wage Positions; and 2) Stream for low-wage positions. Positions with wages at or above the median hourly wage will fall within the high-wage stream, and positions with wages below the median hourly wage will fall within the low-wage stream.

This is particularly important as each stream has different requirements. For example, subject to certain exemptions, the high-wage stream will require the employer to provide a transition plan, in which the employer undertakes to reduce its reliance on temporary foreign workers.

When applying under the low-wage stream, an employer will be subject to a cap on the number of temporary foreign workers it employs.

It is important to note that as compared to last year’s median hourly wages, only British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon experienced a decrease. All other provinces and territories saw an increase in median hourly wage, while Manitoba’s remained the same.


Given that the provincial and territorial hourly median wage determines the LMIA stream an employer must apply under, ESDC’s updates may impact an employer’s ability to hire temporary foreign workers. For example, an employer who expected to apply for an LMIA through the high-wage stream may now be subject to the low-wage stream’s cap if the median wage increased in his or her particular province or territory.

For more information on ESDC’s updates to the provincial and territorial median hourly wage and applying for an LMIA, please contact PwC Law LLP.

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