The purpose of the changes is to limit access to the program – ensuring the TFWP is only used as intended, as a last and limited resort to fill acute labour shortages on a temporary basis when qualified Canadians are not available.

First, the Government will now use wage levels instead of National Occupational Classification codes as the main criteria for administering the TFWP.  Those positions paying less than the median hourly wage for a given province or territory are now classified as “low-wage” and are subject to tighter restrictions than those positions paid at or above the median hourly wage.

The scale for determining which jobs are “low wage” and which are “high wage” is as follows, though will presumably be updated as conditions change:


Wage ($/hr)

Newfoundland and Labrador


Prince Edward Island


Nova Scotia


New Brunswick












British Columbia




Northwest Territories




Second, the existing Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process is being replaced by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. This means employers must provide additional information, including the number of Canadians that applied and the number interviewed for the available job, and explain why those Canadians were not hired. Employers must now also attest they are aware of the rule that Canadians cannot be laid-off or have their hours reduced at a worksite that employs temporary foreign workers.

Third, the Government is introducing a 10 percent cap on the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that a business can employ. Employers with 10 or more employees will be subject to a cap of 10 percent of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers. This cap will be applied per worksite and is based on total hours worked at that worksite. The new cap will be phased in over the next two years.  Effective immediately, employers applying for a new LMIA will be limited at 30 percent of their workforce or frozen at their current level, whichever is lower. The level will be further reduced to 20 percent beginning July 1, 2015 and reduced again to 10 percent on July 1, 2016.

Fourth, effective immediately, the Government will refuse to process certain LMIA applications in the Accommodation, Food Services and Retail Trade sectors in economic regions with an unemployment rate at or above six percent.
Employer applications will not be processed in economic regions with an unemployment rate at or above six percent for the following retail-related job categories:

NOC Code

NOC4 Title


Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers and Related Occupations


Light Duty Cleaners




Grocery Clerks and Store Shelf Stockers


The labour market information used to identify unemployment rates in economic regions is based on annual data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) from Statistics Canada and will be posted on the TFWP website.

Fifth, effective immediately, the duration of work permits set out in LMIA will be limited to a maximum of one year for all low-wage positions, rather than the 2 year duration that existed previously.

Transition Plans for High-Wage Positions

Employers who want to hire temporary foreign workers in high-wage occupations will be required (with limited exceptions) to submit transition plans with their LMIA application to ensure that they are taking steps to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time.

RCC encourages members to assess how they are currently using these programs and to contact Susie Grynol, VP, Federal Government relations at 613-656-7901 or [email protected]

More Information is available at:
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Jobs for which wages are below the provincial/territorial median.