Statement from CIMA On Changes to LMO Process for Temporary Foreign Workers

Earlier this week, recent changes related to the process of obtaining Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) for Temporary Foreign Workers coming to Canada came to light through an article in the Calgary Herald. From a music industry perspective, international acts wishing to perform in a Canadian venue will be impacted as follows:

  • Each band member and crew member traveling with the artist must now pay a $275 fee to apply for an LMO (previously, this application was free).
  • Should the application be declined, the $275 fee is non-refundable

It has also been reported that the $150 permit to play in Canada will be assessed on a per member, per performance basis, whereas previously it was a one-time fee to enter the country and was maxed out at $450 per band.

In addition, it is important to note that this fee ONLY applies to artists performing in bars or restaurants.  This does not apply to festival performances or concert halls
To put these fees into context, a four person international act coming to Canada will now cost $1,700 per show in application fees and permits.  Prior to these changes, the cost for entering the country was $450 in total.

CIMA is working diligently on behalf of its members and the industry, explaining to the federal government why these new fees are wrong, and how they will affect the broader Canadian music industry. We believe that the impact of the new fees are an unintended consequence of the Government’s changes to the rules governing its Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

CIMA is also questioning the Government’s rationale on why they singled our bars and restaurants, small businesses which are breeding grounds for home-grown talent. Our position is this fee should be waived for all international artists and their professional entourage, regardless of where they will be performing (ie festival or bars).

At this stage, we feel it is important for the government to know that their new rules will not ‘protect’ Canadian artists or save jobs here at home. Rather, CIMA is emphasising that the rules will have a detrimental and cascading effect through the entire industry, and at the end of the day may result in the loss of jobs and the loss of business opportunities both in Canada and internationally.

In response to these changes, CIMA has submitted a letter to The Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, The Hon. Chris Alexander Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  To read the letter in full, click here (pdf).

In order for our words to have the greatest impact when talking with Government, CIMA needs to collect more information, opinions, and feedback on this issue from the industry.  Should you wish to provide thoughts on how these fees may impact you, please contact CIMA’s President Stuart Johnston at stuart@cimamusic.ca

We also encourage you to write to your local Member of Parliament to explain how the fees will impact your business and the industry.  To find out who your local MP is, click here.