Alberta Limits Positions That Can be Filled by Foreign Workers

The government of Alberta and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) have partnered to deal with a concern in the Alberta labour market.

Before hiring a temporary foreign worker, an employer must go through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. This process, established by ESDC and administered by Service Canada, forces employers to ensure that they seek Canadians before filling a position with a foreign worker. Subject to rules for specific occupations or occupation types, the LMIA process generally requires an employer to seek to recruit Canadians, and thereafter substantiate to Service Canada that a suitable Canadian could not be found. (For our purposes, ‘Canadians’ will be used to include Canadian citizens and permanent residents.)

From time to time, in recognition of market factors, ESDC may take action to address a problem or concern. This can occur both when there is recognition of a labour market shortage, as well as when there is a surplus, in a particular field or geographic location

In this instance, ESDC and the province of Alberta have agreed, for a 24-month period, to disallow the issuance of LMIAs for positions in occupations deemed to have a sufficient pool of talent in Canada. Indeed, as a balance to this action, the government of Alberta has created a ‘liaison’ service to assist employers who are seeking workers to fill positions in these categories. The occupations in question are listed below, at the end of this article.

Note that this is an ESDC/Alberta program impacting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. This is NOT an Immigration Canada program. That is to say, people who are seeking work permits under LMIA-exempt categories (also known as the ‘International Mobility Workers Program) would still be able to seek work permits for positions in Alberta, so long as they otherwise met the requirements of a particular LMIA-exempt category, for example, Intra-Company Transfer.

Certainly, some employers may be impacted by this program, but (a) they can seek assistance through the Alberta Employer Liaison Service (see, and (b) this should have little or no impact on situations where a foreign worker is coming to Canada pursuant to an LMIA-exempt category. Those impacted should seek proper advice for their particular needs.

The information in this article is for general purposes only, and not intended as legal advice for any particular situation.


List of Occupations for which LMIAs will Not Currently be Issued in Alberta:

Business, finance, and administration occupations

NOC Title
1225 Purchasing agents and officers
1523 Production logistics co-ordinators

Natural and applied sciences and related occupations

  NOC Title
2131 Civil engineers
2132 Mechanical engineers
2133 Electrical and electronic engineers
2212 Geological and mineral technologists and technicians
2231 Civil engineering technologists and technicians
2233 Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians
2261 Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians

Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations

   NOC Title
7202 Contractors, supervisors- electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
7237 Welders and related machine operators
7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
7242 Industrial electricians
7251 Plumbers
7271 Carpenters
7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
7311 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
7322 Motor vehicle body repairers
7511 Transport truck drivers



Occupations in manufacturing and utilities

 NOC Title
8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling and services
8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
8412 Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators
8615 Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers
9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators