In order to obtain a positive Labour Market Opinion, an employer must commit to paying a prospective foreign worker at least the prevailing wage for an occupation in a geographic area. The prevailing wage is set by Employment and Skills Development Canada (“ESDC”)/Service Canada. It is a very strict requirement, and Service Canada officers currently have no discretion to vary it.
The Working in Canada Website
The Prevailing Wage for a position can be found on the Wages section of the Working in Canada website, here - http://www.workingincanada.gc.ca/wage-outlook_search-eng.do?reportOption=wage This website is also used by provincial nomination programs to determine the Market Rate for a position, as well as in economic class immigration applications to determine whether a wage accurately reflects a position’s duties.
The Working in Canada website lists the Low, Median, and High salary for nearly every occupation in every region of the country. The Prevailing Wage is equal to the Median wage for a position.
For example, if you were trying to determine what the Prevailing Wage for a Civil Engineer in Vancouver is, you would enter that job title into the search field, locate the appropriate geographic region, and identify the Median Wage. I have demonstrated this below.
The LMO application will be refused if the Median / Prevailing Wage is not paid.
International Graduate Variation
While International Graduates were previously exempted from the prevailing wage requirement, this is no longer the case.
Prevailing Wage is Retroactive
It is important to note that although LMO application requirements lock-in during processing, the Prevailing Wage does not. As well, although it again does not impact advertising, Service Canada can vary the prevailing wage if it feels that the Working in Canada website is wrong. This can be demonstrated in the following Service Canada Business Expertise Question & Answer.
Please note that what I have reproduced in the blockquote below should not be viewed as legal advice. I obtained a copy of this internal Service Canada question and answer through an Access to Information Act request (the “ATI”). The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada. (I have decided not to reproduce the names of the Service Canada officers involved.) Please e-mail me if you want a copy of the original question and answer contained in the ATI.
Recv’d two applications-one kitchen helper (6641) and cook (6242 for same ER.
During processing, notice that the wage for the Cook per WiC Median at Territoy level = $13.93/hr.
The low skill trade Kticehn helper. makes $15.00 per WiC, NWT level.
How do I proceed when the kitchen helper would be making more than the cook? Is this an error?
OFFICER & TL RECOMMENDATIONS:
Have no recommendations; just think this is an error and wish to double check;
Need to straighten this out before complete file assessment is done
BE CONSULTANT RESPONSE:
Human Resource and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has reviewed the wages currently posted on the Working in Canada (WIC) website for NOC 6641 (Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers and Related Occupations) and NOC 6242 (Cooks) for the Northwest Territories. The median wage ($13.93/hour) for NOC 6242 was determined based on 2006 census data. However, based on a review of HRSDC El data, the median wage for NOC 6242 in the Northwest Territories will be adjusted to $18/hour. The median wage of $15/hour for NOC 6641 was also reviewed using HRSDC El data, but the wage was deemed reliable in comparison to other sources currently available.
To consider NHQ-LMI’s median wages for the Northwest Territories of $18.00/hour for NOC 6242 (updated) and continue to apply (existing) $15.00/hour for NOC 6641.
In addition to Prevailing Wage being retroactive, as of December 31, 2013, the LMO application forms require that employers attest that they will constantly monitor the above site, and increase their foreign worker’s pay should Prevailing Wage increase during the course of employment.