Median Wage Increased For Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Median Wage Increased For Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program
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The median hourly wage used to determine streams of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been increased.

As of April 2, 2024, employers will need to pay candidates more to qualify for the TFWP’s High Wage Stream.

Hiring a Temporary Foreign Worker for a High-Wage or Low-Wage Position

Canada employers submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application under the High Wage Stream or Low Wage Stream, based on the salary being offered for the position they are hiring foreign workers for.

If they offer a temporary foreign worker (TEF) a salary that is:

  • equal to or greater than the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, they must submit their application under the high-wage positions stream;
  • lower than the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, they must submit their application under the low-wage stream.

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Median Hourly Wage By Province Or Territory

Province/territory Median hourly wages before April 2, 2024 Median hourly wages as of April 2, 2024
Alberta $28.85 $29.50
British Columbia $27.50 $28.85
Manitoba $23.94 $25.00
New Brunswick $23.00 $24.04
Newfoundland and Labrador $25.00 $26.00
Northwest Territories $38.00 $39.24
Nova Scotia $22.97 $24.00
Nunavut $35.90 $35.00
Ontario $27.00 $28.39
Prince Edward Island $22.50 $24.00
Quebec $26.00 $27.47
Saskatchewan $26.22 $27.00
Yukon $35.00 $36.00

An LMIA is a document that an employer in Canada may need to hire foreign workers.

A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a job that Canadians cannot fill. A positive LMIA is sometimes referred to as a “confirmation letter.”

Employers must apply for an LMIA and can only apply for a work permit following the reception of the LMIA.

A worker needs the following documents to apply for a work permit:

  • a job offer letter
  • a contract
  • a copy of the LMIA, and
  • the LMIA number

Employers need an LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

The LMIA application process depends on the type of program the hiring is being done through:

  • high-wage workers
  • low-wage workers
  • workers through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
  • workers through the Agricultural Stream

Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Canada let in 184,235 workers in 2023, which is a drastic increase from 2022’s 135,450 workers and 2021’s 103,160 workers.

Different industrial sectors depend on TFWs to differing degrees because of unique levels of labour shortages and specific skill requirements, according to an Economic and Social Report by Yuqian Lu and Feng Hou.

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Using linked administrative data to determine foreign workers’ distribution across industries and their proportion in the workforce between 2010 and 2020, the researchers found that between that time period, the employment of TFWs became increasingly concentrated in three sectors that mostly offer low-paying jobs: accommodation and food services; retail trade; and administrative and support, waste management and remediation services.

TFWs’ increased concentration in the three low-paying sectors can be attributed to the large expansion of individuals holding IMP work permits and study permits and the growing trend of study permit holders seeking employment in these sectors.

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