Ottawa launches employer recognition program under TFWP

Government investing $29.3 million over three years to help address labour shortages

Ottawa launches employer recognition program under TFWP

Ottawa is giving incentives to some employers who have been good partners with the government under the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program.

The government has launched the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) under the TFW program. Under this, Ottawa is investing $29.3 million over three years to address labour shortages and reduce the administrative burden for repeat employers participating in the program that have a history of complying with program requirements.

“The Recognized Employer Pilot will cut red tape for eligible employers – those who demonstrate the highest level of protection for workers – and make it easier for them to access the labour they need to fill jobs that are essential to Canada’s economy and food security,” says Randy Boissonnault, minister of employment, workforce development and official languages.

Ottawa first announced the REP in Budget 2022 as the “trusted employer model”.

Under the REP, eligible employers will gain access to Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) that are valid for up to 36 months. They will also benefit from a simplified LMIA application, should they need to hire additional workers from the same occupation during the pilot.

Recognized employers will also benefit from a Job Bank designation that shows their recognized status to prospective workers.

In March, the federal government announced it is allowing international graduates with a recently expired or expiring post-graduation work permit (PGWP) to qualify for an additional or extended work permit to stay in Canada longer.

Who can participate in the REP?

Ottawa will roll out the REP in two phases. First, primary agriculture employers will be able to apply starting September 2023. Second, all other employers will be eligible to apply in January 2024.

Employer applications for the REP will close in September 2024.

To participate, employers must have at least three positive LMIAs over the past five years for the same occupation 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, to ensure that REP targets employers with the best recruitment practices, according to the government.

In December, Ottawa announced that, on a temporary basis, spouses and working-age children accompanying those applying to the low-wage stream of the TFW program will be allowed to work in the country. Previously, spouses were only eligible for a work permit if the principal applicant was working in a high-skill occupation.

Employers welcome TFWP changes

A couple of stakeholders welcomed the new recognition initiative under the TFW program.

“The Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been pivotal to the success of the greenhouse sector across Canada. When dealing with a perishable, time-sensitive product, reliable, dedicated employees are of the utmost importance,” says Michael Del Ciancio, of DC Farms. “This program is the glue that keeps us moving forward as world-class leaders, and we are tremendously grateful for its existence.”

“This program rewards employers who are following best practices when it comes to the employment of TFWs,” says Kelly Higginson, Restaurants Canada president and CEO. “This program will reduce costs and ease access to labour at a time when the industry needs it the most.”

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