As of May 19, 2009, all LMOs issued by Service Canada must be used within 6 months of issuance. The new rule also sets out that all LMOs issued prior to May 19, 2009 will expire by no later than November 19, 2009. This includes individual LMOs and blanket LMOs.
What this means is that a person who has received a positive LMO will have 6 months from the date of issue to apply for a Canadian Work Permit. If a Work Permit is not applied for within the 6 month period, the LMO will no longer be valid and the employer will need to request a new LMO.
This does not affect the duration of the work permit that would be issued under the LMO. That may be up to 3 years depending on the time frame granted by Service Canada.
Service Canada has implemented this new "use it or lose it" measure as part of its plan to ensure that LMOs are consistent with current labour market conditions.
Employers are advised to check all unused LMOs received before May 19, 2009. Any LMO confirmation with an "Opinion Expiry Date" (one of the fields set out in the confirmation letter) later that November 19, 2009 must now be read as ending on November 19, 2009.