When Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) announced they were providing 10-day expedited processing for some Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) requests (Express Entry, Short Duration, High Wage, and Skilled Trades), employers were thrilled as this provided an avenue for employers with an immediate need to prioritize the workers they needed.

Unfortunately, amidst the impact of Coronavirus, ESDC announced on April 22, 2020, that “due to COVID-19 10 day Expedited processing for the criteria listed above, has been suspended until further notice”.  Therefore, all new LMIA requests will be placed in the regular processing queue, until further notice. Unfortunately, ESDC has also announced that they are experiencing a severe backlog in LMIA’s under some streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW). Currently LMIA’s for permanent residency are taking approximately 38 business days and High Wage Occupations are taking longer, at 49 business days. This will surely affect many employers who have relied on the expedited processing when making decisions on who and when to hire.

Alternatively, if you need an LMIA for occupations in the agriculture, agri-food, and trucking sectors, you will be able to receive the expedited processing. This is because there is a huge shortage of workers in these areas and the need to continue production in the food industry. Under the Agricultural Stream, employers may hire TFW’s for a maximum period of 24 months so long as there are no available Canadian or Permanent Residents to fill the job. To qualify for this stream, employers must meet 2 criteria: (1) production must be in specific commodity list, and (2) the activity must be related to on-farm primary agriculture.

This announcement comes after the announcement that In order to support employers and workers affected by COVID-19, ESDC would be extending LMIA validity periods to 9 months (compared to previous 6 months) under the TPW Program.

If you currently hold a valid 6-month LMIA and require an extension to the validity period, please contact us for more information. We are also happy to assist employers who wish to hire TPW’s and need an LMIA for agriculture, agri-food or trucking sectors.