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About ESDC

About ESDC

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is the name of a Canadian federal department that plays a key role in Canada’s immigration system. One of its most notable roles in the immigration system is overseeing the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process.

The LMIA is sometimes required under certain skilled worker immigration streams. It is required under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). This page provides an overview of why ESDC administers the LMIA.

ESDC’s Role in Canada’s Immigration System

The mission of ESDC is to build a stronger and more inclusive Canada which entails improving the quality of life of Canadians.

This entails providing support to workers in Canada. Given that Canada looks to facilitate the arrival of skilled workers from overseas to grow its economy, ESDC plays an oversight role in trying to ensure that these foreign arrivals do not have a negative impact on Canadian workers.

As such, ESDC oversees the Canadian government’s labour market test, known as the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The purpose of the LMIA is for ESDC to determine whether the hiring of a foreign national will have a neutral, positive, or negative impact on workers in Canada. A negative impact could entail the arrival of a foreign worker causing workers in Canada to see their wages or employment prospects negatively affected.

To help avoid such scenarios, the Canadian government administers the LMIA for certain skilled worker immigration and temporary foreign worker programs. Under some skilled worker immigration programs, a candidate may receive a job offer which needs to be backed by an LMIA. For instance, a job offer is not required to gain permanent residence under an Express Entry program. However, in order to claim additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for arranged employment, the job offer needs to meet certain criteria, including being supported by an LMIA.

Similarly, under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which exists only to address labour shortages, it is required for employers to apply for an LMIA. The steps on how to get an LMIA under the TFWP are available on this page.

If the foreign national receives a positive or neutral LMIA, they can then submit their permanent or temporary residence application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

ESDC considers the following when assessing an LMIA application:

  • If the hiring of the foreign national is likely to result in job creation or job retention for Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • If the hiring of the foreign national is likely to result in the development or transfer of skills and knowledge for the benefit of Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • If the employment of the foreign national is likely to fill a labour shortage
  • If the wages offered to the foreign national are consistent with the prevailing wage for the occupation and if the working conditions meet general Canadian standards
  • If the employer will hire or train Canadian citizens or permanent residents, or has made, or agrees to make, reasonable efforts to do so
  • If the hiring of the foreign national is likely to negatively impact the settlement of a labour dispute
  • If the employer has fulfilled or made reasonable efforts to fulfil any commitments made in previous LMIA applications