Employers may hire foreign workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP). Producers may find that the application process and terms are more favourable under the IMP.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs) to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. The permit process is subject to approval through a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An LMIA verifies that there is a need for a temporary worker and that qualified Canadians are not available. The program is operated by the Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada.
Program highlights - There is a $1000 CAD non-refundable processing fee for each application. Applications may be submitted up to six (6) months in advance. Applications beyond six (6) months in advance may be considered on a case-by-case basis. It is possible to change the name of the TFW after the fact, once the LMIA is approved. Work permits obtained under this stream are subject to a 4-year cumulative duration – a TFW who has worked for 4 years cumulatively in Canada must wait four (4) years before being eligible to work in Canada again.
A step by step guide to the application process under TFWP may be found here:
International Mobility Program (IMP) allows employers to hire temporary workers without an LMIA. Exemptions from the LMIA process are based on broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada; and reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.
Exemption Code C14 – Television and Film Production Workers
As of February 17, 2016, foreign workers in the film and television industry may be eligible for an exemption, under LMIA exemption code C14. The program is administered by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Foreign workers who do not qualify for the exemption under the IMP may apply for a work permit under the TFWP.
Program highlights – Employers are required to register, enter information on the offer of employment, and pay a compliance fee of $230 CAD on the online “Employer Portal”. The fee may be reimbursed if the application is subsequently refused, or if the employer withdraws the offer of employment before the work permit is issued. Once the employer and offer is properly registered, the portal will generate a proof of payment and an ID number. Next, in order to apply for a work permit, the applicant will need the proof of payment, offer of employment ID number, letter of support from the production, and a letter of no contest from the applicable union. Applications for work permits are filed online in the Employer Portal, but processed at the border by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Work permits obtained under this stream are not subject to the 4-year cumulative limit.
Overview slide presentation prepared by the IRCC can be found here.
A brief overview of IMP Exemption Code C14:
Links to Employer Enrolment Portal Guide, Employer Portal User Guide, and Technical Support:
FAQs regarding LMIA Exemptions for Television and Film Sectors prepared by the IRCC can be found here.
Exemption Code T11 – Treaty Co-productions
Temporary foreign workers entering under the terms of a treaty co-production agreement between Canada and any foreign country may be eligible for an exemption, under LMIA exemption code T11. The fees and application process are similar to the procedures described above.
Telefilm Canada has produced the following information sheet setting out the entry procedures for the T11 exemption: http://www.telefilm.ca/document/en/04/ProcedureImmigrationversionanglaise.pdf