Last Updated on October 17, 2014 by Steven Meurrens

On June 23, we wrote about how on June 20, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) and the Ministry of Economic and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) announced significant reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”).  One of the changes was:

Refusing Low-Skilled Applications in Areas of High Unemployment in Some Occupations

ESDC will refuse to process certain LMIA applications in the Accommodation, Food Services and Retail Trade sectors. Specifically, ESDC will not process LMIA applications for employers if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • the employer is applying for an LMIA in a Statistics Canada economic region with an annual unemployment rate over 6%;
  • the employer is seeking an LMIA in a specific occupation identified under North American Industry Classification System as Accommodations & Food Service or Retail Sales; and
  • the employer is seeking an LMIA in an occupation in one of the following occupations:
    • Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers and Related Occupations ;
    • Light Duty Cleaners ;
    • Cashiers;
    • Grocery Clerks and Store Shelf Stockers;
    • Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers;
    • Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance Labourers;
    • Other Attendants in Accommodation and Travel;
    • Janitors, Caretakers and Building Superintendents;
    • Specialized Cleaners; and
    • Security Guards and Related Occupations.

In today’s post, I wish to elaborate on the above.


ESDC Unemployment Chart January 2014

ESDC Unemployment Chart January 2014

On June 20, 2014, ESDC announced that it would effectively immediately refuse to process Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) applicaitons for positions in economic regions (the “Impacted Economic Regions“) where the annual unemployment rate is 6% or higher, in the Accommodation & Food Services and Retail Trade Sectors in the National Occupation Classification (“NOC“) D Skill Level. The rationale is that in such economic regions there is likely to be a supply of domestic labour that could quickly be hired and trained to fill available jobs.

Economic Regions Unemployment Rate

The Impacted Economic Regions are all economic regions in Canada, excluding those in Quebec (which the moratorium does not apply to) where the unemployment rate exceeds 6%.  A review of the Impacted Economic Regions shows the continued economic strength of the western Canadian provinces compared to their central and eastern counterparts.  The Impacted Economic Regions are:

  • Alberta – None
  • British Columbia – Vancouver Island and Coast, Lower Mainland – South West, North Coast, Nechako
  • Manitoba – Winnipeg, Parklands, North
  • New Brunswick – All
  • Newfoundland – All
  • Nova Scotia – All
  • Ontario – All except Stratford – Bruce Peninsula
  • Prince Edward Island – All
  • Saskatchewan – None
  • Yukon Territority – None
  • Northwest Territories – None
  • Nunavut – None

At the end of this post we have reproduced the internal ESDC directives on the ‘refusal to process’ moratorium.  Annex B contains a breakdown of all economic regions in Canada and their respective unemployment rates.

Impacted Sectors

The impacted sectors are the Accommodation and Food Services Sector and the Retail Trade Sector.

The Accommodation and Food Services Sector comprises all sectors in the North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS“) 72.  This includes establishments primarily engaged in providing short-term lodging and complementary services to travellers, vacationers and others, in facilities such as hotels, resorts, motels, casino hotels, bed and breakfasts, hunting and fishing camps, and various types of recreational and adventure camps.  It also compromises establishments primarily engaged in preparing meals, snacks and beverages, tu customer order, for immediate consumption on and off the premises. It does not include stand alone casinos, children’s day camps, recreational facilities, community food services, dinner theatres, and civic organizations that operate bars for their members.

The Retail Trade Sector encompasses all sectors in NAICS 44-45.  This includes establishments primarily engaged in retailing merchandise and rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise.  It includes Store Retailers and Non-Store Retailers.  Store Retailers include establishments such as office supplies stories, electrical services, new automobile dealers, electronics and appliances, catalogue sales showrooms, gasoline service stations, mobile home dealers, and pretty much all establishments engaged in retailing merchandise and providing after-sales services.  Non-Store Retailers include broadcasters of infomercials, electronic catalogue publishers, home delivery of products, oil dealers, newspaper delivery companies.  It does not include general mechanics, manufacturers, interior decorators, landscapers, etc.

The Impacted Occupations

The Impacted Occupations are:

NOC Code NOC Title
6641 Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers and Related Occupations
6661 Light Duty Cleaners
6611 Cashiers
6622 Grocery Clerks and Store Shelf Stockers
7611 Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers
8612 Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance Labourers
6672 Other Attendants in Accommodation and Travel
6663 Janitors, Caretakers and Building Superintendents
6662 Specialized Cleaners
6651 Security Guards and Related Occupations

Below we have reproduced Service Canada’s internal operational directive regarding the moratorium. Please note that what we have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice by ESDC.  The reproduction of the material below has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada. As well, given the nature of relying on internal documents, some of the information may be out of date.