Canada has introduced an innovative initiative, the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP), designed to facilitate the hiring of foreign nationals for job opportunities within the country through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
On August 8th, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) announced the launch of the Recognized Employer Pilot, heralding a new era of streamlined labor access for eligible Canadian employers. This initiative is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of worker protection while simplifying the process for employers to acquire much-needed talent.
The rollout of REP will be executed in two phases. The first phase, set to commence in September 2023, will target employers in the primary agricultural sector. These employers will have the opportunity to apply for the program in preparation for the 2024 season. Following this, the second phase, starting in January 2024, will extend the program’s benefits to employers in various other industry sectors. The application window for both phases will remain open until September 2024.
ESDC outlines that employers projected to meet the REP eligibility criteria will receive proactive invitations to submit a unique dual-purpose Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application. This distinct application distinguishes itself from the standard LMIA process, as it serves both as a means to apply for recognized status under REP and for the LMIA simultaneously.
REP eligibility will be determined by ESDC based on an employer’s historical engagement with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Even in cases where recognized status is not granted, employers can still avail themselves of the TFWP, as ESDC will continue to assess their LMIA applications.
Employers have two avenues through which they can apply for the REP:
- Utilizing the LMIA online portal, a secure and reliable digital platform that facilitates the completion and submission of online applications to ESDC.
- Employers possessing valid exemptions to the LMIA online portal can opt to email a PDF application form to ESDC.
Participating in REP offers a range of advantages to recognized employers, including:
- A simplified application process for future LMIA applications targeting positions listed in the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS).
- Reduction in contact points between employers and ESDC, owing to streamlined LMIA forms that enable the hiring of a greater number of temporary foreign workers.
- The coveted Job Bank designation, which showcases the employer’s recognized status and bolsters their efforts in recruiting potential workers.
One of the pivotal benefits of REP is the extension of LMIA validity periods for recognized employers, lasting up to an impressive 36 months. Furthermore, recognized employers, if the need arises, can benefit from simplified LMIA applications when seeking to hire additional workers in the future.
For Canadian employers seeking to attract talent via economic immigration channels, REP opens up avenues to tap into both the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). This dynamic initiative is set to transform the way employers engage with international workers while ensuring robust worker safeguards and promoting economic growth.