Foreign worker wages: Open to negotiation?

LMOs outline required wages but can employers negotiate pay with workers themselves?
By Sergio Karas
|Western Report|Last Updated: 08/04/2010

Employers hiring foreign workers who do not fit an exemption category under the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act (IRPA), or a treaty such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, must obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Service Canada confirming the employment of the foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the labour market.

In each LMO, the wages, benefits and working conditions are stated. Large and sophisticated employers usually have detailed contracts signed by the foreign workers clearly stating a variety of employment matters including salaries and allowances. However, many small businesses employing foreign workers do not seek legal counsel and rely on a verbal agreements.

Service Canada requires the wages offered to a foreign worker to be the same as those offered to Canadian residents and it usually relies on surveys of wages and working conditions for the particular jurisdiction to determine the appropriate salary for a position. But can employers be compelled to pay the wages stated in the LMO or can they pay a different wage?