Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Increase In Average Hourly Pay: Temporary Foreign Worker Program 2023

The federal government has announced an update on Canada’s temporary foreign worker program, which states all provinces (except Nunavut) will increase their median hourly wages after May 31, according to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).A foreign national who applies for a work permit in Canada must also submit an LMIA ( Labour Market Impact Assessment ) from the organisation where they will be working.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Employers in Canada who hire foreign nationals utilise the province and territorial median hourly pay to determine the criteria for the Temporary Foreign Worker Programme (TFWP).

The location of the post and the salary provided to the employee will decide whether companies must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under the high wage or low wage streams, each with their own set of criteria.

Employees who are paid less than the provincial/territorial median salary are termed low wage, whereas those who are paid at or over the median rate are considered high wage.

Effective May 31, 2018: Province-Wide Median Hourly Wage

Province/territoryMedian hourly wageseffective May 31, 2023Median hourly wagesprior to May 31, 2023
British Columbia$27.50$26.44
New Brunswick$23.00$21.79
Newfoundland and Labrador$25.00$24.29
Northwest Territories$38.00$37.30
Nova Scotia$22.97$22.00
Prince Edward Island$22.50$21.63

Before a foreign individual may begin working for a Canadian employer under the temporary foreign worker program, they must first get an LMIA and a temporary work permit. If you want to recruit a high-wage worker, you must submit transition plans together with the LMIA to show that you are, as an employer, taking efforts to lessen your reliance on foreign employees over time. This guarantees that competent Canadians are given first preference for open positions.

LMIA processing times 2023

For the month of April 2023, the following table lists the average LMIA processing times.

Application typeAverage processing time
Global Talent Stream9 business days
Agricultural stream13 business days
Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program8 business days
Permanent residence stream34 business days
In-home caregivers18 business days
High-wage stream31 business days
Low-wage stream37 business days

Eligibility to inviting foreign employees

It is not necessary to submit a transition plan along with the LMIA if you are hiring a low wage worker. Instead, the Canadian government limits the amount of low-wage workers that a company may hire in order to limit access to the temporary foreign worker program (TFWP).

If your company pays less than the provincial/territorial average, you must:

  • Cover pay for  return trip of the temporary foreign worker;
  • Make sure there is cheap housing available;
  • Pay for private health insurance until employees are eligible for provincial coverage.
  • The temporary foreign worker must be registered with the provincial/territorial occupational safety board; and
  • Provide a contract between the employer and the employee.

Finally, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will assess the application to ensure that no competent Canadians are being disregarded in favour of the foreign worker.

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