Refusal to Process a Labour Market Impact Assessment

Meurrens LawLabour Market Impact Assessments, Uncategorized

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (a “LMIA“) is an assessment by the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC“) that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive, neutral or negative impact on Canada’s labour market.

An LMIA is often a requirement to hire a foreign worker.

There are certain situations in which ESDC will refuse to issue a LMIA. This effectively precludes employers from utilizing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (the “TFWP“).

The Sex Industry 

Regulations 183(b.1) and 196.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “IRPR”) provides that temporary residents are prohibited from entering into an employment agreement, or extending the term of an employment agreement, with an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.

Regulation 200(3)(g.1) of the IRPR further provides that work permits cannot be issued to workers who intend to work for employers who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.

Because of this, ESDC will not issue LMIAs to employers who regularly offer services in the sex industry (striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massage).

Ineligilibity List

Employers who hire temporary workers may be inspected to make sure  they meet their responsibilities as an employer under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or International Mobility Program. If an employer is found non-compliant, they can receive either a monetary penalty or a ban from hiring temporary workers for a specified period of time.

As such, ESDC will not issue LMIAs to employers who are on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada ineligibility list which includes employers who:

  • have been found non-compliant as result of an employer compliance review
  • have been banned from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program because non-compliance was discovered during an inspection
  • are in default of payment of an administrative monetary penalty.

Certain Positions in Accommodation and Food Services and Retail Trade Sectors

ESDC will aos refuse to process LMIAs for certain positions in the accommodation and food services and retail trade sectors if all of the following factors apply.

First, the position must be in an economic region with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.  The areas where this applies can normally be found here. Due to COVID-19, all economic regions in Canada are considered to have unemployment rates of at least 6% or above.

Second, the position must be in the Accommodation and Food Services Sector or the Retail Trades Sector. These are North American Industrial Classification System (“NAICS“) code 72 and NAICS codes 44 to 45.

Third, the position must be under the National Occupational Classification codes 6541, 6611, 6622, 6711, 6721, 6731, 6732, 6733, 7611 and 8612.

Low-Wage Positions Above the Cap

ESDC will refuse to process LMIA applications that are Low-Wage if the employer excees their cap on the proportion of low-wage temporary foreign workers for the same positions at the same work location.


As per the ESDC website, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all new and pending LMIAs for positions in Alberta must be on the a list of exempt occupations to be eligible for processing. Until further notice, we are refusing to process LMIAs if the position you are looking to fill is not listed, unless they qualify for exemption, which include the Global Talent Stream.

Prior to COVID-19, ESDC’s policies with regards to refusing to process LMIA applications for Alberta were as follows:

ESDC Alberta