Canada to soon launch Recognized Employer Pilot for temporary foreign workers

Kareem El-Assal
Published: August 9, 2023

In order to help address labour shortages, the Canadian government has announced it will launch the Recognized Employer Pilot in September.

The Recognized Employer Pilot will operate under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and will aim to reduce the administrative burden for repeat employers who have a history of demonstrating compliance with the TFWP's requirements.

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Under the REP, eligible employers will gain access to Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) that are valid for up to 36 months, while also benefitting from a simplified LMIA application.

An LMIA is a labour market test that Canadian employers need to complete to recruit foreign workers under the TFWP. The purpose of the LMIA is to demonstrate there are no workers in Canada available to do the job for which the employer is recruiting.

The Canadian government has said these steps will help eligible employers better plan for their staffing needs and reduce the number of LMIA applications they need to submit over three years. Recognized employers will also benefit from a Job Bank designation that shows their recognized status to prospective workers.

In order to participate in the REP, employers must have a minimum of three positive LMIAs over the past five years for the same occupation from a list of occupations designated in-shortage based on Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) data. Such employers will be subject to a more rigorous upfront assessment process based on their history with the TFWP, ensuring that the REP only targets employers with the best recruitment practices.

The REP will be rolled out in two phases. Beginning in September 2023, primary agriculture employers will be able to start applying.

All other employers will be eligible to apply in January 2024.

Employer applications for the REP will close in September 2024.

Employers eligible under the REP can expect a simplified application process for future LMIA applications for positions on the COPS list.

In addition, they can expect fewer points of contact between participating employers and the Department of Employment and Social Development (ESDC) during the pilot due to simplified LMIA forms that enable employers to hire addition temporary foreign workers during the REP's pilot period.

The Canadian government notes the REP is one measure being launched alongside others aimed at improving the TFWP.

ESDC states it will be offering technical briefings to stakeholders to provide more information about the REP and the application process. It says it will communicate further details soon.

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