Foreign Musicians are Affected by Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

On June 20, 2014, changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program were enacted that affect foreign musicians who wish to perform in Canada.

Formerly, foreign musicians entering Canada to perform at bars, restaurants, and similar venues were not exempt from the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process, which had to be completed by their Canadian employers before the musicians could obtain a work permit.

Now, foreign musicians who come to Canada to perform for a limited time at any venue (including bars, restaurants, and similar venues) are not required to obtain either a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA – formerly LMO) or a work permit.

Those musicians will still be required to show contracts at the border when entering Canada, and it is advisable to have a printed copy of the Operational Bulletin on hand.

A work permit and LMIA will still be required for musicians who are:

  • on the production of film, television or radio broadcast;
  • not performing in a time-limited engagement; or
  • in an “employment relationship” (for example, a permanent piano bar employee) with the organization or business in Canada that is contracting for their services.

The LMIA fee has been increased from $275 to $1,000 for every temporary foreign worker position requested by an employer. In September 2015, the work permit fee will be increased to $230 per worker.

For a full summary of the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, read Overhauling the Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Putting Canadians First.

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