Can I hire temporary foreign workers in the province of Quebec?

Canadian employers may hire foreign workers to fill temporary and skilled shortages when qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not available. Here’s how.

By Mtre. Reynaldo Marquez, immigration lawyer

As a general principle, the Canadian job market is by law reserved for the local workforce. This means that an employer is must first of all recruit new staff from Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

But like any general principle, there are some exceptions allowing a Canadian employer to hire foreign nationals. This is the case, for example, when a Canadian employer is able to demonstrate that local candidates cannot fill the labor shortage they are experiencing.

Demonstrate labor shortage

To do so, an employer may be required to submit a Labor Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) application to Service Canada. A positive or neutral LMIA will usually show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a vacancy, and that no Canadian or permanent worker is available to do the job.

In additional to a LMIA application, a Quebec-based employer may also be required to submit a Certificate of Acceptance from Québec (“CAQ”) application to the province’s immigration officials, the ministère de l’Immigration, la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI). A CAQ should usually confirm Service Canada’s evaluation that hiring a foreign worker should have a neutral or positive effect on Quebec’s labor market.

Special instructions for Quebec

In Quebec, MIDI requires that most LMIA and CAQ applications be submitted in French.

Employers wishing to hire foreign workers for high-wage positions should submit their LMIA and CAQ applications to Service Canada and MIDI simultaneously.

Those seeking to apply for a LMIA in the low-wage positions should first submit their application to Service Canada. They should only submit their CAQ application to MIDI after Service Canada has confirmed that their LMIA application is being processed. This should prevent employers from paying processing fees to MIDI on applications Service Canada is not willing to process.

Applying for a work permit

After an employer obtains a LMIA, and a CAQ in the province of Quebec, a foreign national may apply for a work permit with Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Should said foreign national’s application be accepted by IRCC, he or she will be issued a employer-specific work permit which is commonly referred to as a “closed work permit”.

A closed work permit allows a foreign national to work according to the conditions on his or her work permit, which usually include the name of the employer, its location and the length of the work permit.


In this blog article, we reviewed the process of hiring a temporary foreign worker from the point of view of Canadian immigration procedures.  They could be summarized as follows.

A Canadian employer who wishes to hire a foreign worker usually has to demonstrate the existence of a labor shortage. In order to do this in the province of Quebec, an employer usually must apply for a LMIA and a CAQ with Service Canada and MIDI.

Should an employer obtain the LMIA and CAQ requested, the foreign national may then apply to IRCC for a closed work permit.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  For legal advice tailored to your needs, consult a lawyer.

For more information on immigration procedures to hire a temporary foreign workers in Canada, and more specifically in the province of Quebec, kindly contact us.

J. Reynaldo Marquez, avocat
217-2120, rue Sherbrooke Est
Montréal, Québec, H2K 1C3
514 506-9313