Lululemon’s growth is officially recognized as a significant investment project

Julia Hornstein
Published: March 6, 2023

Under the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement (the Agreement), British Columbia can identify significant investment projects that will benefit from a facilitative immigration measure; the ability to bypass having to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

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According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a significant investment project means “a new endeavour in an existing firms’ operations or the entrance of a firm that is beginning operations in province that will result in substantial improvement to the provincial labour market or economy, without displacing jobs for Canadians.”

Lululemon is an athletic apparel company founded in Vancouver, Canada. Lululemon is a growing global company, with over 600 total company-operated stores worldwide and 29,000 employees in 17 different countries.

On February 28th 2023, the federal and provincial government recognized lululemon’s growing workforce and global headquarters as a significant investment project under the Agreement.

This means that for a variety of high-skilled occupations, lululemon can hire foreign workers without the requirement to apply for a LMIA.

Lululemon requested a significant investment project designation to provide for the workers the company needs for a major company expansion in Vancouver. According to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the expansion will sustain 3,500 full time jobs across British Columbia and inject millions of dollars into the economy. In addition, the province’s workforce will see benefits of this over time as these highly skilled foreign workers will transfer their knowledge and expertise to British Columbians.

What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

An employer in Canada looking to hire a foreign worker often needs to submit an LMIA to the Canada government. The purpose of the LMIA is to ensure that the hiring of the foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market. Employers will most likely have to provide evidence that they attempted to fill the positions with qualified Canadians or permanent residents, but they were unsuccessful, and therefore needed to hire foreign workers.

Foreign workers that do not require an LMIA fall under the International Mobility Program (IMP). The purpose of the IMP is to promote Canada’s economic, social, and cultural interests.

Eligibility for the significant investment project

An applicant is eligible for a work permit under the significant investment project if they provide the following documents along with their work permit application:

  • A provincial letter of support stating the name of the significant investment project, the full name and date of birth of the individual and the employer and the job offer information,
  • An LMIA-exempt offer of employment

Previous significant investment projects

IRCC recognizes Microsoft Vancouver, also known as Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre, as a significant investment project. Microsoft Vancouver is a training and development facility that is responsible for implementing strategically important development projects.

Microsoft Vancouver represents a significant investment that provides for new regional job opportunities. International trainees and core staff who work at the global training program are also LMIA-exempt under the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement, as according to IRCC:

  • These trainees are not entering the Canadian labour market or competing with Canadian workers.
  • The core staff are integral to the work being done by the global employees.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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