What is the change? Effective immediately, Canada has expanded its definition of foreign emergency repair personnel whose work permit applications are exempt from the requirement of a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

What does the change mean? Emergency repair personnel whose work permit applications are LMIA-exempt now include individuals entering Canada to repair industrial or commercial equipment that is no longer under warranty or covered by an after-sales or lease agreement.

The change will allow affected foreign nationals to perform preventive work where failure to immediately repair industrial equipment would have a negative impact on Canadian jobs. The work permit for emergency repair and service personnel is typically for a short duration of 30 days or less and can be extended only in exceptional circumstances.

  • Implementation time frame: The expanded exemption took effect May 21.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits for emergency repair personnel.
  • Who is affected: Emergency repair personnel.
  • Impact on processing times: The expanded category will eliminate the onerous LMIA process for a greater number of repair workers sent to Canada for emergency repairs of equipment when the services for the equipment is no longer covered under warranty.
  • Business impact: The change will have a significant positive impact on businesses outside Canada that sell industrial or commercial equipment to Canadian customers and need to send repair personnel on short notice and on a regular basis.
  • Next steps: Contact your BAL attorney to confirm whether your company’s personnel qualifies under this new exemption and how to proceed to apply for LMIA-exempt work permits.

Background: The expanded exemption covers emergency personnel sent to Canada to repair industrial or commercial equipment that is no longer under warranty or covered by an after-sales or lease agreement. It applies when the repair service is required because:

  • There is need for specific knowledge.
  • There is no commercial presence by the company that manufactured the equipment.
  • Canadian jobs would be greatly affected if the equipment is not repaired in a timely fashion.

The employer must prove the above criteria by submitting documentary evidence that may include:

  • A letter from the sending company stating the employee’s status in the company and the purpose of the visit.
  • A copy of the LMIA-exempt offer of employment form from the Canadian employer indicating the nature of the work, the reason for the repairs on the equipment, confirmation that the original equipment manufacturer is not present in Canada, a detailed description of the work to be performed in Canada, and evidence that the foreign repair personnel has the specialized skills and knowledge required to repair the equipment (such as educational degrees, CV and professional licenses and certifications).

BAL Analysis: The expanded exemption is a welcome development that will benefit companies that need to send emergency personnel to Canada to repair out-of-warranty industrial or commercial equipment.

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

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