With growing labour and skills shortages across the country, many Canadian employers are struggling to fill jobs that are essential to their operations. The Government of Canada recognizes these challenges and wants to help employers hire the workers they need, while also reducing the administrative burden of such a task and ensuring temporary foreign workers are protected from abuse.
Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, launched the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) under the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program. REP is a three-year initiative that will help to address labour shortages and reduce the administrative burden for repeat employers participating in the program who demonstrate a history of complying with program requirements.
Alongside a commitment of $29.3 million over three years, REP was first announced in Budget 2022 as the “trusted employer model.” Under 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. Recognized employers will also benefit from a Job Bank designation that shows their recognized status to prospective workers.
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. These employers will be subject to a more rigorous upfront assessment process based on their history and track record with the program, ensuring that REP targets employers with the best recruitment practices.
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.
REP is one measure being launched alongside a series of other initiatives aimed at improving the TFW Program.
- The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is designed to be responsive to changes in the labour market. It helps Canadian employers fill labour and skills shortages on a temporary basis when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.
- Effective April 3, 2023, the program transitioned to the LMIA Online Portal as the primary method to submit LMIAs. This shift to an online system will further improve processing and is helping employers address their labour market needs quickly.
- Along with the Canadian Occupational Projection System, ESDC uses the National Occupational Classification (NOC, 2021 version) to identify occupations that may face labour shortage or labour surplus conditions over the projection period.
- Ensuring the health and safety of temporary foreign workers is a key priority. In September 2022, the Government introduced new measures to strengthen protections for temporary foreign workers, mandating that employers provide workers with information about their rights, and prohibiting reprisals and recruitment fees.
- To further protect temporary foreign workers, ESDC operates a tip line available in more than 200 languages, where workers and their advocates can anonymously report mistreatment.
- In April 2022, ESDC implemented an escalation process to notify provincial partners of situations where the health and safety of a temporary foreign worker are at immediate risk.