The Government of Canada introduced the Global Talent Stream in June 2017. Aimed at streamlining labour market impact assessments (LMIAs) for specific NOC numbers, this stream is intended to enable high-growth Canadian companies to attract skilled foreign talent and get them in Canada quickly.

Employers seeking to hire in occupations enumerated on ESDC’s Global Talent Occupations List could benefit from the expedited process of the Global Talent Stream. These occupations have been determined to be in-demand and difficult to source locally within Canada’s domestic labour market.

This list, current as of March 2018, is as follows:

National Occupations Classification (NOC) code Occupation
0213 Computer and information systems managers
2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
2171 Information systems analysts and consultants
2172 Database analysts and data administrators
2173 Software engineers and designers
2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
2175 Web designers and developers
2241 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
2283 Information systems testing technicians
Sub-set of 5131* Producer, technical, creative and artistic director and project manager – Visual effects and video game

*in addition to the position having an annual salary of at least $75,000 ($36.06 per hour) or the prevailing wage (if the prevailing wage is higher), the position must require a minimum of five years of experience in the visual effects, video game or animation industries in one or a combination of the following roles: producer, technical director, creative director, artistic director or project manager, with experience in at least one or more of the following skills relevant to the visual effects, video game or animation industries: surfacing and look development; character or simulation rigging; matte painting; or technical pipeline development and application for visual effects, video games, or animation production.

Sub-set of 5241** Digital media designers

**in addition to the position having an annual salary of at least $80,000 ($38.46 per hour) or the prevailing wage (if the prevailing wage is higher), the position must require a minimum of five years of experience in at least one of the following digital media design skills: 3D modeling, virtual reality, augmented reality, digital media animation, levels editing for digital media design, software editing for digital media design, pipeline software development or applications relevant for digital media design


Another category exists in which the Stream’s designated referral partners may refer innovative firms seeking to hire unique and specialized talent to utilize the Global Talent Stream.

Unique and specialized talent may be indicated by advanced knowledge of the industry, an advanced degree in the specialization of interest, and/or a minimum of five years of experience in the field of specialized experience. It is expected that this talent be paid highly, with a salary of usually CAD $80,000 or more.

Processing Times

ESDC promises Global Talent Stream LMIAs a service standard of 10-business days, starting the business day after the application has been received. Temporary foreign workers entering through the Global Talent Stream are also promised the similarly swift processing times for their work permit applications. Global talent workers are eligible to have their work permits processed in two weeks by IRCC, a service standard expected to be met 80% of the time.

Labour Market Benefit Plan

Unlike a regular LMIA, The Global Talent Stream LMIA process does not have a minimum recruitment requirement. The program strongly encourages employers to recruit Canadians and permanent residents before seeking to offer the position to a temporary foreign worker but does not require a minimum of four weeks of advertising.

However, employers and temporary foreign workers should be aware that the Global Talent Stream is not meant to serve as an easy fast-track for coming to Canada. Employers must commit to activities that benefit the Canadian labour market, either directly or indirectly through a mandatory Labour Market Benefits Plan that must be submitted with each original application.

The Labour Market Benefits Plan will be monitored by ESDC at regular intervals and must demonstrate the employer’s commitment to activities that will have lasting and positive impact to the Canadian labour market. These regular reviews of the Labour Market Benefit Plan are separate from the standard compliance review also conducted by ESDC.

Employers are still required to meet conditions relating to the payment of skilled workers. Foreign workers hired through the Global Talent Stream must be paid at the prevailing wage or higher, which is defined as the highest figure of either the median wage for the occupation and job location as defined on Canada’s Job Bank; the minimum wage defined in the Global Talent occupations list  or the wage within the range an employer pays current employees in the same position at the same location.


Ultimately, the Global Talent Stream initiative adds another facet to Canada’s plentiful temporary work permit options. While an attractive option, employers and foreign workers should still be careful in considering which work permit pathways would be the most beneficial to their business timelines.

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