Labour Market Opinions (LMO) for Canada Work Permits: Recent Changes Effective January 2009

Changes to Canada work permits

In order to be approved for certain Canada work permits, Canadian employers first have to make an application for a Labour Market Opinion or LMO to Service Canada formally known as Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).

Generally, in order to qualify for an LMO, Canadian employers have to demonstrate, among other things, that they have made efforts to hire a local Canadian or permanent resident for the job that is offered to the foreign worker. This is usually done by advertising in local or national newspapers for the position offered.

New requirements to LMOs for Canada Work Permits

Once Service Canada is satisfied that the employer qualifies for an LMO, they will issue a letter for the employer and the prospective employee can then apply for his or her Canadian work visa.

Service Canada has recently advertised new requirements for national advertising for all LMO applications. Service Canada has announced that all occupations for which a company is seeking to hire a foreign worker are now subject to the same minimum advertising requirements based on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in an application for a Labour Market Opinion being denied.

Previous Rules for LMO Applications

In the past, Service Canada accepted applications for certain occupations considered to be occupations that were in demand. Such occupations are those where a company demonstrates that it had advertised on the Government of Canada’s national Job Bank for a minimum of 7 calendar days or it could be shown that the company had established sincere recruitment efforts to hire workers. This standard for these occupations in demand has now been cancelled. Now a new standard applies to all occupations regardless of whether they are in demand are now subject to the new minimum recruitment requirements.

New Rules for LMO Applications

Service Canada now requires that the following minimum recruitment requirements be met before it will approve an application for an LMO:

For Occupations that fall under NOC O and A:

  • Advertise on the national Job Bank for a minimum of fourteen (14) calendar days, or
  • Conduct similar recruitment activities consistent with the practice within the occupation (e.g., advertise on recognized Internet job sites, in journals, newsletters or national newspapers or consult unions or professional associations) in the three (3) months prior to filing the LMO application.

For Occupations that fall under NOC B:

  • Advertise on the Government of Canada national Job Bank for a minimum of fourteen (14) calendar days during the three (3) months prior to applying for a LMO. The advertisement must include the employer’s name, business address and wages being offered.

For NOC C and D Occupations (including live-in caregivers and seasonal agricultural workers)

  • Advertise for a minimum of 14 days on the Job Bank during the three (3) months prior to applying for a LMO;
  • Conduct recruitment activities consistent with the practice in the occupation, during the three months prior to applying for a LMO. The employer should advertise for the equivalent of 14 days/two-three weeks, choosing one or more of the following options:
    • advertise in newspapers, e.g., a weekly ad during two-three weeks in journals, newsletters, national/regional newspapers, ethnic newspapers/newsletters, free local newspapers;
    • advertise in the community, e.g., posting ads for two-three weeks in local stores, community resource centres, churches, or local regional employment centres;
    • advertise on Internet sites e.g., posting during 14 days/two weeks on recognized job Internet sites (union, community resource centres or ethnic sites).
  • Demonstrate reasonable ongoing recruitment efforts which include communities that face barriers to employment (e.g. Aboriginals, older workers, other disadvantaged groups). Advertisement could be on recognized Internet job sites, in local and regional newspapers, at community resource centres (Aboriginal and newcomers) and local regional employment centres. The ongoing recruitment efforts that are required are specific to each region. The advertisement should be based on the conditions of the labour market in the region and be consistent with the practice in the occupation.

The advertisement must include the employer’s name, business address and wages being offered.

As you can see the new LMO rules for employers are more technical than ever before. It is therefore important to ensure that your Canada work permit application is properly prepared in order to maximize your chance of an approval from Service Canada.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

  • Andy Khatter


    I need to renew my work permit (also need to apply for an LMO). I am looking to hire a lawyer to take care of this for me.
    Please give me an idea as to how much it will cost and what kinds of procedures are involved in this?

    Andy Khatter

    • Dear Andy,

      Thank you for your question.

      I am happy to assist you with your matter. However, Im afraid that it is difficult for me to give you a quote as it greatly depends on the complexity and urgency of each and every case. For example, to better assist you, I would require more detailed information regarding the type of work permit you currently hold, when your current work permit expires, what is your home country, who your employer is, for how long do you intend to extend your work permit, what kind of skills and qualification you have, your employment duties and responsibilities etc.

      I suggest that you book an appointment with our office to discuss your case in more detail. Please feel free to contact our office. You may also contact me and I will be more than happy to assist you.

      Hope this helps.

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