What is the change? Canada has announced that beginning Feb. 17 foreign nationals in the film and television industry whose jobs are deemed “essential to a TV or film production” may be exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessment requirements.

What does the change mean? Eligible film and television industry workers will have a much easier time securing authorization to work in Canada.

  • Implementation time frame: Feb. 17.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals working in the film and television industry in Canada.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing times will be significantly shortened for those who qualify for the exemption.
  • Business impact: The exemption is a boon for Canada’s film and television industry because the LMIA process is costly and time-consuming.
  • Next steps: Beginning Feb. 17, those who qualify for the exemption will be able to obtain work permits with letters of support from both the production company and the relevant union or guild.

Background: In announcing the LMIA exemption this week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada noted that the film and television industry jobs in question are generally high-wage, union jobs.

“Facilitating entry for these workers under the International Mobility Program serves to support existing public investment in these productions and protect Canada’s economic interests in continuing to attract high-value TV and film productions to Canada,” IRCC said. “Work that is essential to TV and film production is considered to create and maintain significant economic benefits and opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents.”

The exemption will apply regardless of whether filming entirely or only partially in Canada and regardless of whether the production company is Canadian or foreign.

BAL Analysis: The change should make it significantly easier for Canada’s film and television industry to recruit and employ foreign workers.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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