As a strategic move to address the ongoing crisis of skilled workforce in the country, the Canadian government has declared the launching of a new pilot program, The Recognized Employer Pilot Program (REP). This program would operate under the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program. It will work to lessen the indispensable amount of paperwork required of recurrent employers who have a track record of adhering to the TFWP’s rules. This decision comes after the announcement made by Randy Boissonnault, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages in Delta, of the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Under the provisions of the Recognized Employer Pilot program, potential employers will be granted access to Labor Market Impact Assessments (LMIA), which would have validity for up to 36 months. At the same time, these employers would also benefit from a simplified LMIA application.
In the simplest of terms, an LMIA is a labor market test undertaken by prospective Canadian employers in order to be able to hire skilled international workers under the provisions of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The intention behind an LMIA, thus, is to demonstrate the unavailability of Canadian workers for the specific field of occupation for which the employer is looking to hire an alternative.
According to the Canadian government’s statements, such a step will help these employers plan their recruiting needs in a more effective way, thereby reducing the amount of LMIA applications required to be submitted over a period of three years. Authorized employers shall also benefit from a job bank designation, reflecting their recognized status to potential international workers.
The Recognized Employment Pilot program, thus, will be a 3-year pilot program starting in the month of September 2023, making it easier for employers to acquire an LMIA.
What is the new Recognized Employer Pilot Program?
As previously discussed, this new Recognized Employer Pilot Program will lessen the administrative burden on prospective employers and streamline the hiring process for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Under the provisions of the REP, employers must choose from a list of professions categorized as in-shortage based on Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) data and have a minimum of three positive LMIAs for the same occupation in the past five years. Based on their respective histories with the TFW program, such employers would be subject to an even more rigorous upfront evaluation process, ensuring that the program only targets employers adhering to the best recruitment practices.
The Recognized Employer Pilot Program will roll out in two phases:
- All employers in the Primary Agricultural Stream will be allowed to submit their applications for the 2024 season starting from the month of September.
- Phase 2 shall commence in the month of January 2024, allowing all other industries to participate.
The application time period for both streams shall be concluded in the month of September 2024.
All employers who fulfill the eligibility requirements for the Recognized Employer Pilot Program (REP) will receive an invitation to register through the use of a dual-purpose LMIA application, in contrast to the standard LMIA. Simultaneously, employers may request to use the same application for submission of recognized status under REP and the LMIA.
The eligibility requirements for the REP shall be determined by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) based on their track record of participating in the TFW program.
Prospective employers may still be eligible to take part in the TFW program and get their LMIA evaluated by the concerned authorities, irrespective of whether they have been granted the recognized status or not.
To surmise, there are two methods for submitting an LMIA and REP application:
- Employers can submit an online application to the ESDC via the LMIA online portal, or
- Send a PDF application form to the ESDC via email if they are legitimately exempted from having access to the LMIA online portal.
The assessment of the Recognized Employer Pilot Program (REP) will take place on the basis of the employer’s track record of adhering to the rules and requirements of the TFW program and the way in which they make use of the provisions of the program to fill the in-demand job roles.
Employers who qualify for the Recognized Employer Pilot Program shall be entitled to the following:
- A streamlined application process for upcoming LMIA applications for positions listed on the COPS,
- Lesser points of contact between prospective employers and ESDC due to the streamlining of LMIA applications as part of the REP program,
- A job bank designation reflecting their recognized status.