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Effective as of Monday, August 28, 2017, there are new requirements for an approval for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An LMIA is generally required before a foreign worker can get a work permit to legally work in Canada. The LMIA limits the worker to work for one employer, in one position with a fixed salary. The LMIA process generally requires the employer to first advertise for the position to ensure that the job opportunity is not going to a foreign worker when a Canadian could fill that position. LMIAs are divided into low wage and high wage streams.

The new requirements effect the recruitment process for both high wage and low wage stream jobs. These requirements are designed to ensure that no foreign worker is taking away a job opportunity from a qualified Canadian worker, and as a result, makes it harder to secure an LMIA.

 

Low Wage Changes

Under the new rules, an employer must advertise on Job Bank, regardless of what province the employer is in. It used to be that employers in provinces that had provincial job boards, such as British Colombia, could advertise on those boards as an alternative to Job Bank. Those provincial job boards may still be used as an additional advertisement, but now the employer must use Job Bank.

This leads into the second new requirement, which is the requirement to use the Job Match service on Job Bank. Essentially, this service electronically assesses the requirements of the job and compares that to the experience and resumes of job seekers who have an account on Job Bank. The closer the match between the job and the job seeker, the more ‘stars’ the seeker receives. An employer is able to see the anonymous profiles of all the seekers who are matched with their posting.

Employers advertising for a low-wage stream job must, within the first 30 days of advertising, invite all job seekers with a rating of two or more stars to apply to their posting. This is meant to actively encourage unemployed Canadians to find suitable employment before employers can try to bring in foreign workers to fill those positions.

The final new requirement for the low wage stream is that employers now have to target at least two underrepresented groups in the labour market. These groups include: Indigenous persons, vulnerable youth, newcomers and persons with disabilities. Under the old rules, an employer only had to target one of these groups. This requirement is meant to ensure that the most vulnerable in the Canadian job market are not being forced out of the labour market to make room for foreign workers.

 

High Wage Changes

Under the new rules, an employer for a high wage stream job must also use the Job Bank site for advertisement, whether or not the employer’s province has its own job board.

As with the low wage stream, employers in the high wage stream are also now required to use the Job Match service. In the first 30 days of advertising, the employer must invite all job seekers with a rating of four or more stars to apply to their posting.

 

Effect of these Changes

Through these changes, the IRCC is trying to ensure that eligible Canadians are able to find suitable work before any foreign workers are allowed to come in and fill those positions. In effect, however, these requirements are more likely to make more work for employers, without any real change to the LMIA process.

The Job Match service, while an admirable attempt to reach out to Canadian job seekers, will not likely to result in an increase in employed Canadians. Many accounts on Job Bank are actually old accounts of Permanent Residence applicants. Under the old permanent residence rules, applicants had to sign up for a Job Bank account once they submitted their application for Permanent Residence. Many of those accounts are still in the Job Bank system, and therefore get caught by the Job Match service. These candidates likely already have their own employment and will not respond to an invitation to apply.

Another issue with the Job Match and invitations, especially in the low wage stream, is that the matches do not always have the right experience or education. Job Match will show matches whether or not the candidate actually meets all of the minimum job requirements. These means that employers may be forced to go through more resumes and applications of candidates that are not qualified for the job, and therefore, will not receive an interview, much less a job offer. This is in spite of the fact that these candidates were invited to apply. This requirement creates an extra hurdle without any real positive change to the system.

While it is not clear whether or not these changes will have an effect on the outcomes of LMIA applications, it is clear that the IRCC is trying to send a message to employers trying to bring in foreign workers: these workers must only come if they are filling in a need that cannot be satisfied by a Canadian worker.