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Lululemon promises 2,600 new jobs after exemption from some immigration rules

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Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald, left, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Francois-Philippe Champagne, centre, and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser arrive for a news conference at the company's headquarters, in Vancouver, on Thursday, May 25, 2023. The company has received a waiver from immigration rules restricting access to foreign workers as it expands its global headquarters, with plans to hire 2,600 additional workers over the next five years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver-based company Lululemon says it will expand its headquarters in the city and create 2,600 jobs over the next five years.

The announcement comes months after the federal government granted the company the ability to hire foreign workers for certain highly skilled positions, including management jobs, software engineers and computer technicians, without needing to apply for a labour market impact assessment.

Federal Innovation Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne says if Ottawa hadn't acted, the company's headquarters may have left Vancouver.

CEO Calvin McDonald says Lululemon has secured an additional 125,000 square feet of office space in downtown Vancouver because of the confidence it has in the agreement.

A labour market impact assessment is a process sometimes used to determine if a company needs a foreign worker to fill a position because of a lack of Canadian workers or permanent residents available to do the job.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says Canada won't be able to meet the domestic needs of the economy with an exclusively domestic labour force and the entire world is competing for talent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2023.

The Canadian Press