Greenhouse Canada

Service Canada updates LMIA procedures for efficiency

April 2, 2020  By Western Agriculture Labour Initiative (WALI)

Service Canada has provided the following updated Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) processing measures, introduced to ensure efficient processing for Primary Agriculture and Agri-food employers this season.

Employers should always advise Service Canada of any changes to working hours that vary from the approved LMIA.

If an employer is using a non-inspected accommodation for self-isolation purposes during the quarantine period after workers arrive in Canada and then transferring the workers to the long-term housing once quarantine is completed, a housing inspection report and/or photos is not required. However, if the employer is planning to use that facility for a longer time, they should consult with their Program Officer for specific guidance. This is fluid as the situation is ever evolving, it is very important that employers continue to advise their Program Officer of updates.


This is a very fluid and constantly evolving situation. It is very important that employers continue to advise their Program Officer of updates.


All employers:

  • Extending the period of validity of an LMIA from 6 to 9 months, to allow employers more time to identify candidates and bring them to Canada.
  • Temporary suspension of requirement to report minor administrative updates (e.g. reporting lay-offs, teleworking arrangements, etc.)
  • An accelerated name change process with IRCC has been established (from 5 days down to 1 business day) for employers wishing to change the name of an already identified foreign worker for reasons related to COVID-19.

For Primary Agriculture and Agri-food Employers:

  • For Primary Agriculture and Agri-food employers, we are providing priority processing of LMIAs and removing minimum recruitment requirements until October 31, 2020.
  • For Primary Agriculture employers, added flexibility regarding the requirement to provide a recent Housing Inspection Report (HIR). A previously approved HIR within the last 3 years (if available) or date-stamped photos of the accommodations if a previously passed HIR is not available. In all cases, employers will be required to provide a new HIR to the Department within the period of employment covered by the work permit.

For Low-Wage Stream Employers:

  • the maximum duration of work permits is increasing from 1 to 2 years.

Please note: these temporary measures will be proactively applied to all pending LMIA applications as well as future applications received by the Department.

Service Canada is also strongly encouraging employers and third party representatives who are registered on Job Bank to use the new LMIA Online system to submit LMIA applications. Using the LMIA Online system accelerates our ability to assign applications Officers and to begin the assessment. Furthermore, through their online account, employers and third parties are able to obtain real-time status on the assessment of their LMIA applications.
A dedicated LMIA Online Team is available if employers require assistance: 

Note: although it’s long, the above email address is a valid Service Canada email for the dedicated LMIA online team.

Service Canada is in the process of finalizing an approach to allow employers to submit their LMIA applications through email (currently piloting the approach in Quebec) and hope to have this process finalized by the of the week.

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