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Eliminate the lengthy processing times and increased LMIA fee for foreign workers in the Fashion Industry

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We are a group of companies either working in or servicing the Canadian fashion industry.

We are very concerned that changes to the LMO/LMIA process will in effect cause significant economic hardship not only to our companies, but the industry at large.

Canadian Retailers must hire highly skilled models, artists in their own right, in order to compete with international retailers operating in Canada.   Canadian retailers do not have significant notice to book models due to availability of merchandise.  Production companies receive late notice to book models.  The lengthy processing times are causing critical issues with receiving timely LMIA’s.

Another concern is the increase of the LMIA fee to $1000. We believe this increase could result in financial hardship to Canadian retailers and be a factor that contributes to the relocation of Canadian productions. Under typical employment circumstances an employer pays the processing fee for continuous employment.  In the fashion industry retailers typically hire models for one-two days making the employment situation unique. We seek your consideration to take into account that our circumstances are not the same as mainstream employment of foreign workers.

Employment of these foreign nationals results in direct job creation or job retention for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. The opportunities are not limited to the fashion industry as there are many supporting industries which benefit due to the trickle-down effect – the implementation of the LMIA fee and increased processing times affects modelling agencies, retailers, artist agencies (hair/make-up artists and stylists), talent agencies,  photographers and crew, photography agents, videographers, advertising firms, marketing firms, printing companies, film, commercial production, studio rentals, equipment rentals, location services, caterers, car services, taxis, hotels, restaurants, airlines and retail.

The employment of foreign nationals results in the creation or transfer of skills and knowledge for the benefit of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Additionally, due to the socio-economic bracket of the foreign nationals, there is a large opportunity for tourism and increased spending within Canada. Finally, the employment of these foreign nationals fills a labour shortage which assists Canadian retailers to compete.

Employment of foreign workers in the Canadian fashion industry is a niche market that is crucial to the survival of the industry. It is imperative that Canadian production remain in Canada.  Due to the changes with the LMIA/Visa processing times, Canadian productions may be forced to shoot on location in the USA to avoid the lengthy and costly LMIA/Visa processes. Ultimately these productions could be inherited by American production companies. The relocation of Canadian fashion productions would result in catastrophic consequences to our companies and significantly impact the employment of Canadians.


In a recent precedent set by the Ministry, the “Tour Tax” of $275 imposed as an “application fee” on international artists performing in Canada was eliminated as it was determined it undermined Canadian businesses.  We view the LMIA fee of $1000 and lengthy processing times as an equally extraordinary hardship to Canadian retailers.  Furthermore the impact of this fee threatens an already struggling Canadian fashion Industry and the companies that service it.

 In the past ten years we have lost many of our iconic Canadian Retailers. The few that are left must be able to compete on a world -class level. The Modelling industry is comprised of diverse nationalities and an international business where only a few make it to the top. It is very similar to athletes; our sports teams are comprised of the best in the world. Models are no different. This industry is very specialized and specific and desperately requires more latitude and consideration. These Foreign nationals have been lumped into a problem-solving situation perhaps without the clarity and attention it deserves.

We the undersigned urgently request that Government take into consideration our concerns with the lengthy processing times and increased fees. We seek a meeting to better inform the Ministry of how to prevent economic hardship to the Canadian fashion industry.



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