Owner Operator Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

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The owner operator LMIA program is a great option for foreign nationals who are looking to become permanent residents and settle in Canada. A foreign national must own a controlling share (50%+) in an existing Canadian business or launch their own business in Canada in which they have a controlling interest. The owner operator LMIA is best suited for the the following people:

  • Foreign nationals who have the financial assets to launch a new business in Canada and be approved for an owner operator LMIA
  • Foreign nationals that have an established business in their home country or in several countries and are looking to launch their business in Canada by obtaining and owner operator LMIA
  • Foreign nationals who have the financial assets to purchase an existing business in Canada to become the owner operator and be approved for an owner operator LMIA

Owner operator LMIA must be approved to have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market. Service Canada determines if one is eligible to work at her/his newly started or purchased business in Canada. The main criteria for approving owner operator LMIA by the government is positive or neutral impact to the Canadian economy. It is imperative that a foreign national to research the Canadian market to identify how the business, whether purchased or newly established, will impact the Canadian economy. A comprehensive business plan followed by such thorough market research will demonstrate the business project is genuine, and it paves the way for issuance of a positive LMIA and work permit to a foreign national.

After ruling of a positive LMIA, a work permit is granted (valid for 1-2 years) and in most cases, the owner operator would be in a position to apply for a permanent resident visa through the Federal Skilled Express Entry or under the Provincial Nominee Program. Overall, as long as the foreign national has a viable business plan and the transaction is genuine, the probability of a positive owner operator LMIA application is there.


McKinsley, S. G. (2020). Owner Operator LMIA Guidebook. Calgary.