At long last the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, has launched a trusted employer program for foreign workers, the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
REP is a three-year initiative intended to help address labour shortages and reduce the administrative burden for repeat employers participating in the program who demonstrate a history of complying with program requirements.
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, should they need to hire additional workers from the same occupation during the Pilot. This will help employers better plan for their staffing needs and reduce the number of different LMIAs they need to submit over three years.
To be eligible to participate in REP, employers must have a minimum of three positive LMIAs for the same occupation over the past five years from a list of occupations that have been designated as in-shortage based on Canadian Occupational Projection System data. Although the program is for “trusted employers”, meaning those with a sound track record using the TFWP in the past and is intended to reduce the administrative burden on employers, the Minister’s announcement indicated that employers will be subject to a more rigorous upfront assessment process based on their history and track record with the program, in order to ensure that REP targets employers with the best recruitment practices. This appears someone contradictory and therefore, likely not as streamlined as what many businesses were hoping for in a trusted program. Even the list of approved occupations appears confusing, using a suite of models developed by the Economic Skills Development Canada to project labour demand and labour supply, and identify labour market imbalances (shortages/surplus) for 293 occupational groupings at the national level, covering the entire workforce for the 2022-2031- period.
REP will be rolled out in two phases:
- First, primary agriculture employers will be able to apply starting in September 2023,
- While all other employers will be eligible to apply in January 2024. Employer applications for REP will close in September 2024.
Employers who qualify can expect:
- A simplified application process for future LMIA applications for positions on the COPS list;
- Fewer points of contact between participating employers and ESDC during the pilot due to simplified LMIA forms that allow employers to hire more TFW for genuine job offers during REP; &
- A job bank designation that indicates their recognized status to increase interest from prospective workers.
The fact that employers, other than those in the agriculture industry, will have to wait until next year to use the REP is most disappointing. It also does not apply to employers using the Global Talent Steam (GTS) LMIA program or International Mobility Program, many of who have solid track records hiring foreign workers and are very trustworthy. Hopefully the REP does simplify the LMIA process for those eligible employers, and the government is open to expanding the program sooner rather than later.
If you have questions about this announcement, please contact one of our Canadian immigration legal professionals by phone (416 368 1111) or via email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.