Rising median wages in Canada: Impacts and perspectives

According to recent updates from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration of Quebec (MIFI), since April 2, 2024, the median hourly wage for all Canadian provinces or territories has been adjusted.

In this context, the wage being offered for a position determines the type of Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to be submitted, either under the high-wage positions stream or the low-wage positions stream. 

Each category has its own criteria and requirements. Therefore:

  • If the wage offered to a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) is equal to or higher than the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, the application must be submitted under the high-wage category.

  • If the wage offered is below the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, the application must be submitted under the low-wage category.

  Median hourly wage by province or territory

Median hourly wages before April 2, 2024Median hourly wages from April 2, 2024
Alberta $28.85$29.50
British Columbia$27.50$28.85
New Brunswick$23.00$24.04
Newfoundland and Labrador$25.00$26.00
Northwest Territories$38.00$39.24
Nova Scotia$22.97$24.00
Prince Edward Island$22.50$24.00


  • Wage rates before April 2, 2024 (column 2): Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2021 to 2022, based on National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021

  • Wage rates as of April 2, 2024 (column 3): Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2022 to 2023, based on NOC 2021

This recent modification could impact employers’ applications for hiring workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Specifically, employers in the following situations:

  • Applications for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) submitted before April 2, 2024, with offered wages ranging between $26.00 and $27.47 per hour, the current processing remains unchanged for now. These applications are considered under the previous rules and procedures unless Service Canada issues a contrary notice.

  • For LMIA applications submitted from April 2, 2024, which were previously considered under the high-wages stream ($26.00), they will now be classified as low-wages. Additionally, for positions with wages below the median salary, employers will now be required to cover transportation expenses for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), including airfare, as well as health insurance costs, as is already mandated for all workers.

This initiative responds to the need to guarantee fair working conditions and decent wages for workers on Canadian territory, in line with social values and international standards. It also aims to ensure decent working conditions and support post-pandemic economic recovery by encouraging participation in the labor market. 

These adjustments demonstrate an ongoing commitment to inclusive prosperity and a reflection on long-term wage policies.

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