Service Canada announced in April that an extension application for a labour market opinion (LMO) will be treated the same as a new application. The application form to extend a LMO has been removed from circulation.

Traditionally, the adjudication of a LMO extension application was somewhat more relaxed than an initial LMO request where there was a foreign worker incumbent.

This is no longer the case. Employers are now expected to look for Canadian candidates and must demonstrate that they have met the national recruiting requirements introduced on January 1, 2009 each time a LMO application is made.

Additionally, employers may be asked to demonstrate proof of past compliance with the terms of previous offers of employment to temporary foreign workers (e.g. wages and working conditions). Unless requested by Service Canada, employers are not required to submit proof of such compliance with their LMO application.

Where employers anticipate that their human resource needs will continue beyond the period covered by the temporary foreign worker's work permit, Service Canada suggests that a new LMO be requested at least four months prior to the expiry of the foreign worker's current work permit, to ensure that ample time exists for the processing of the new LMO and, if authorized, the subsequent work permit request.

This change is indicative of a trend to tighten the LMO application process.

Employers with foreign nationals on work permits derived from LMOs should consider transitioning such workers to permanent resident status. This avoids the need for future LMO applications, and therefore eliminates the risk that a subsequent LMO for an incumbent foreign worker request might not be granted.

Changes to LMO extension application process