What Employers Should Know When Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers

Canadian Employers Hiring Foreign Workers: What You Need to Know

Foreign workers have become an important part of the Canadian labour market, with many being trained internationally and bringing valuable skills to Canada. For Canadian employers, particularly those in Ontario, hiring temporary foreign workers is a critical strategy to address labour shortages and maintain business growth.

Understanding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) was introduced to help meet the needs of the Canadian job market and address labour shortages. This program allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers temporarily to fill positions when qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not available.

What is a Temporary Foreign Worker?

A temporary foreign worker is an internationally trained individual who comes to Canada to work for a limited period. Canadian employers rely on these workers to fill gaps in the labour market, ensuring their businesses run smoothly and efficiently.

How to Hire a Temporary Foreign Worker

Step 1: Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

To hire a temporary foreign worker, employers must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The LMIA evaluates the impact of hiring a foreign national on the Canadian labour market.

  • Positive LMIA: Indicates that hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral impact on the labour market.
  • Negative LMIA: Indicates that hiring a foreign worker will not have a positive impact.

The employer is responsible for the LMIA application, which includes recruiting, interviewing, and hiring suitable candidates who meet job requirements. Employers must also offer jobs that comply with prevailing wage rates and labour standards. As of 2022, the median wage rate in Ontario is around $26 per hour.

Step 2: Obtaining a Work Permit

Once the LMIA is approved, the employer sends a copy of the LMIA and a job offer letter to the foreign worker, who will use these documents to apply for a work permit. The application for a work permit requires:

  • A job offer letter
  • A contract
  • A copy of the LMIA
  • The LMIA number

Work permits are usually employer-specific, meaning the worker can only work for the employer listed on the permit. If the worker changes jobs, they must obtain a new work permit.

Legal Risks of Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers

Hiring temporary foreign workers involves navigating a complex regulatory framework. Employers must ensure procedural accuracy to avoid legal liabilities. Non-compliance can result in significant penalties, including fines and restrictions on hiring foreign workers in the future.

Employers should conduct internal audits to ensure compliance with LMIA conditions and review terms and conditions of employment for LMIA-exempt workers. Temporary foreign workers are protected under Canadian law, receiving similar protections as local employees under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, Human Rights Code, and Occupational Health and Safety Act in Ontario.

Employer Obligations

Canadian employers must:

  • Inform temporary foreign workers of their rights.
  • Provide a signed employment agreement before the first day of work.
  • Pay workers as stated in the employment agreement.
  • Ensure a workplace free of abuse and comply with provincial employment standards.

Employers cannot:

  • Force workers to perform unsafe work or work not included in the employment agreement.
  • Coerce workers into working while sick or injured.
  • Take workers’ passports or work permits.
  • Make workers reimburse recruitment fees.

How an Employment Lawyer Can Help

Dealing with the LMIA process and complying with relevant laws can be challenging. An employment lawyer can provide invaluable assistance, ensuring that employers understand the requirements and avoid costly mistakes. Whether hiring a temporary foreign worker or ensuring compliance with legal standards, seeking professional legal advice can provide clarity and peace of mind.


Internationally trained workers bring diverse skills that are valuable to the Canadian labour market. Hiring temporary foreign workers is crucial for the growth and success of many businesses. Employers must understand the requirements and legal risks associated with hiring these workers to ensure a smooth and compliant process.

Contact Achkar Law

At Achkar Law, we provide comprehensive legal support to ensure your hiring process is smooth, compliant, and efficient. Our experienced workplace lawyers are here to help you understand your obligations and protect your business from potential legal risks.

Why Choose Achkar Law?

  • Tailored Guidance: Benefit from personalized legal advice that addresses your unique hiring needs.
  • Compliance Assurance: Ensure your business meets all legal requirements and avoids costly penalties.
  • Expert Representation: Gain peace of mind with seasoned legal professionals by your side.

Take the Next Step with Achkar Law

Canadian Employers Hiring Foreign Workers? Contact Achkar Law

Are you a Canadian employer looking to hire foreign workers? Dealing with the legal requirements can be complex. Achkar Law is focused on providing comprehensive support for all aspects of hiring international talent, including LMIA applications, work permits, and ensuring compliance with federal regulations. Let us help you successfully integrate skilled foreign workers into your workforce.



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