Quebec has recently published its updated list of occupations eligible for simplified processing of Labor Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs).
LMIAs are required by certain employers who wish to hire temporary foreign workers and are meant to evaluate the impact of the hire on Canada’s labor market.
The new list, applicable to salaried workers and not self-employed individuals, covers the entire province of Quebec and takes into consideration the labor needs of all regions. Over the past two years, the number of eligible occupations has increased by more than 100, with the 2023 list now including over 300 job titles, compared to 181 positions in 2021.
It’s important to note that although the new list took effect on February 24, there is a transitional grace period for Quebec employers and their representatives. During this period, LMIA applications may still be based on the previous year’s list, but this transitional period ends on March 24, 2023.
In Quebec, the process for LMIA applications differs from the rest of Canada as they must be approved by both the provincial and federal governments. Quebec-based employers must simultaneously submit their LMIA applications to both governments and ensure all required documents are provided. Any applications that are not submitted concurrently to both the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec will be rejected.
Another important change is the transition from the National Occupational Classification 2016 (NOC 2016) system to the updated NOC 2021 version. Since November 16, 2022, LMIA applications have been processed based on NOC 2021.
For employers seeking simplified LMIA processing in Quebec, there are three general eligibility conditions:
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- Competitive working conditions: Employers must offer working conditions that are equivalent to those provided to Canadian citizens or permanent residents in similar job sectors. The job description in the LMIA application should accurately reflect the conditions and requirements of people already employed in the field.
- Compliance with laws and regulations: Employers must demonstrate that their business exists in Quebec, meet all specified conditions in the job offer, have no convictions for certain offenses, offer a job that meets legitimate labor needs, and not negatively impact the province’s labor market.
- Health insurance: Employers must provide free medical coverage, including urgent care, until the hired worker becomes eligible for coverage from the Reggie de assurance maladies’ du Québec (RAMQ).
For low-wage positions, in addition to the above conditions, employers must fulfill the following three requirements:
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- Housing: Employers must assist in finding suitable and affordable housing or provide it for the temporary workers.
- Transportation: Employers are responsible for covering the costs of round-trip plane tickets for temporary workers traveling from their country of permanent residence to work in Quebec.
- Health insurance: Low-wage workers must have coverage equivalent to RAMQ until they become eligible for RAMQ coverage.
Certain types of employment are excluded from simplified LMIA processing, including positions where the temporary worker exercises control over the business, jobs fulfilling the labor needs of a third party rather than the employer, roles that may interfere with ongoing labor disputes, and jobs that conflict with Quebec’s Labor Code.
These guidelines aim to streamline the LMIA process in Quebec and ensure that employers meet specific conditions when hiring temporary foreign workers, contributing to a well-regulated labor market.