Cutting red tape for employers who protect temporary foreign workers in Southwestern Ontario
August 8, 2023 Ruthven, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada
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 at DC Farms, Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced that the Government is launching 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 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, 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 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.”
– The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages
“Temporary foreign workers are vital to the agricultural community in Southwestern Ontario. Local farmers and employers depend on their skills to maintain Canada’s food supply. The Recognized Employer Pilot will help employers with a strong track record in the program to hire the workers they need while ensuring that temporary foreign workers are protected.”
– Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh
“Canada is taking the opportunity to invest in our economic future by recruiting talent from around the world to help fill labour market gaps and skills shortages. Today’s announcement is a prime example of one of the many ways the Government of Canada is working toward an even more prosperous economy by making it easier for employers to recruit the talent they need.”
– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“From Canada’s farm fields to our grocery stores, workers throughout the food supply chain provide an essential service. It is vital that Canadian employers, including farmers and food processors, are able to hire the workers who are critical to food production and food security in Canada. The Recognized Employer Pilot will be an important new initiative under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that reduces administrative burden for employers while ensuring the safety of workers.”
– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“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. This program is the glue that keeps us moving forward as world-class leaders, and we are tremendously grateful for its existence.”
– Michael Del Ciancio, DC Farms
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 Canadian 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 is at immediate risk.
Office of the Honourable Randy Boissonnault,
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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