Lululemon's expansion exempt from limits on hiring foreign workers

Jun 2 2023, 6:30 pm

Lululemon’s hometown is Vancouver, where it was founded by Chip Wilson. Now, while the company is set to embark on a massive global expansion, it’s investing in its growth here in Canada with support from all levels of government.

According to a release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the expansion of Lululemon’s headquarters is set to “significantly boost” BC’s prosperity.

The company is committed to creating more than 2,600 local jobs over the next five years, and IRCC said it’s already stimulating the workforce and economy. In 2022 more than 9,000 were employed by the company in Canada.

Lululemon’s growth and expansion project are set to benefit from the “collaboration of the federal and provincial governments after being recognized as a significant investment project under the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement,” according to IRCC.

Now, the new recognition will allow Lululemon to welcome international talent to high-skilled occupations via a special exemption from the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) process, fast-tracking getting new talent to Canada.

The company’s expansion includes growing its store support centres and global training centres, which will create “significant employment growth and knowledge transfer over the next several years,” said IRCC, as the exemption started on February 28, 2023, and is set to expire on April 1, 2026.

Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald welcomes the program, saying it will provide them with the “opportunity to bring global talent to our hometown of Vancouver, supporting our people to collaborate and innovate together as they build long and meaningful careers at Lululemon.”

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser called Lululemon “a great Canadian success story.”

“As a brand that embodies innovation, quality, and an unwavering commitment to excellence, lululemon has become an iconic symbol of Canadian artisanship and entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. “As they retain their global headquarters in Vancouver and continue to expand, our government will continue to pursue an immigration policy that ensures employers like Lululemon can attract the talent they need to drive economic growth here in Canada.”

In 2022, Lululemon opened a 120,000-square-foot office expansion by leasing the newly built The Offices at Burrard Place in downtown Vancouver.

Lululemon is also working on a new purpose-built headquarters office building in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats. Planned as a 214-foot-tall, 13-storey building, it will sit on a 2.8-acre site at 1980 Foley Street, on Great Northern Way near the VCC-Clark SkyTrain Station and the future Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station. The building will initially become a hub for 2,000 workers, with space to eventually grow to up to 4,000 by the early 2030s.

Lululemon is already hiring for a variety of roles in Metro Vancouver and beyond. For those with retail experience, for example, the athletic wear brand is always seeking “educators” or retail sales associates. Those positions pay up to $23.97 per hour and include highly sought-after perks like discounts and yoga classes.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on May 26, 2023.

With files from Amir Ali and Kenneth Chan

Sarah AndersonSarah Anderson

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