Foreign Worker Program in Canada

Only citizens and permanent residents of Canada are entitled to work in Canada without any special document. Each year about 90,000 persons come into Canada to work in a temporary resident capacity.

The Temporary Foreign Worker program (TFW) allows employers to hire foreign
workers to meet their human resource needs when Canadian workers are not readily
The Program is jointly administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and
Human Resources and Social Development Canada/Service Canada (HRSDC/SC), and
operates under the authority of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and
Regulations (IRPA).

HRSDC/SC’s role with respect to the entry into Canada of temporary foreign workers is
to provide employers and CIC with a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) which describes the
impact the entry of a temporary foreign worker would have on the Canadian labour
market. HRSDC/SC assesses employer requests against set criteria such as recruitment efforts for Canadian workers and confirms that wages and working conditions are consistent with those prevailing in Canada for the occupation. If HRSDC/SC confirms that there are not enough Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to fill the jobs, a positive LMO is issued. The foreign national can then proceed and apply to CIC for a work permit.

Employers will still be required to first advertise for Canadian workers to ensure that
Canadians and permanent residents are given the opportunity to apply for available
positions. However, employers will only need to advertise on the Job Bank, Canada’s
national job website for at least seven days, or conduct similar recruitment activities.
For certain low-skilled occupations, employers have to satisfy both conditions.
An employer seeking to hire a temporary foreign worker for an occupation which
appears on a regional occupations list is still required to obtain an LMO from
HRSDC/SC and will still need to satisfy all other Foreign Worker Program criteria (e.g.
wages and working conditions) in order to receive a positive LMO (i.e. confirmation).

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