Hire a temporary foreign worker through the Recognized Employer Pilot: Program requirements

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Eligibility

When you apply for the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP), Service Canada will conduct a rigorous, upfront assessment of your Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to determine your eligibility for the REP.

You may be eligible for the REP if:

  • you’ve received at least 3 positive LMIA decisions in the last 5 years to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs) for positions on the REP occupations list
  • you meet the highest standards for working conditions, living conditions and worker protection as demonstrated through your history with the TFW Program (TFWP), and
  • you agree to adhere to the regular TFWP requirements

You don’t need to provide additional information to apply for the REP. When you submit your LMIA, you can choose to apply for REP at the same time. We’ll determine whether you’re eligible based on your history with the TFWP. If you’re not eligible for the REP, you’ll still get an LMIA decision.

Recognized employers can benefit from longer validity periods of up to 36 months for LMIA applications that receive a positive decision. They can also access a simplified LMIA application when hiring additional workers.

Phase 1

If you’re looking to fill positions on the Phase 1 occupations list, you can apply starting in September 2023.

To be eligible, you must have received at least 3 positive LMIA decisions since 2018.

Phase 2

If you’re looking to fill positions on the Phase 2 occupations list, you can apply starting in January 2024.

To be eligible, you must have received at least 3 positive LMIA decisions since 2019.

REP duration

Service Canada will stop accepting REP applications in September 2024. However, employers enrolled in the REP can continue to submit requests for positions on the REP occupations list using a simplified LMIA.

The REP is scheduled to conclude in fall 2026.

Ineligible employers

If you meet the eligibility criteria listed above, you may still be found ineligible for the REP if:

  • you’ve received negative LMIA decisions
  • you’ve been found non-compliant
  • significant and credible allegations have been made against you for putting the health and safety of TFWs at risk
  • you’ve failed to meet requirements associated with inspection check-ins, or
  • there’s a change in the labour market that impacts the position you’re trying to fill

Employers who haven’t employed TFWs in the 5 years prior to submitting a new LMIA application aren’t eligible to participate in the REP.

In addition, if you’re an affiliate of an employer who is ineligible for the TFWP or in default of any amount payable in respect of an administrative monetary penalty, you also aren’t eligible to participate in the REP.

An affiliate includes an employer that’s controlled by another employer

  1. (a) 2 employers that are under common control, or
  2. (b) employers that aren’t operated at arm’s length

Commitments

Eligible recognized employers must also commit to the following:

  • participate in random REP check-ins
  • undertake wage reviews to ensure that TFWs are receiving the most current prevailing wage for the occupation and work location where they are employed
  • continue to make reasonable efforts once per year to hire Canadians or permanent residents, including meeting the minimum recruitment requirements established for the applicable program stream associated with their LMIA application; you may be required to provide proof of these efforts and their results if randomly selected for a check-in
  • where applicable, complete annual inspection reports of employer-provided accommodations, address any deficiencies or conditions imposed on the annual inspection and ensure compliance with applicable provincial, territorial or municipal housing standards before foreign workers arrive

Employer requirements

You must meet TFW program requirements, as well as those for the REP. You must also uphold the conditions and rules set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act regarding hiring a TFW.

Processing fee

You must pay $1,000 for each position requested under the REP to cover the cost of processing your application.

  • The processing fee payment (in Canadian dollars) can be made by:
    • Visa
    • MasterCard
    • American Express
    • certified cheque (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
    • money order (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
    • bank draft (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
  • The processing fee won’t be refunded if your application is withdrawn at your request, cancelled or if your application receives a negative assessment. Refunds are issued only if a fee was collected in error
  • The processing fee cannot be paid by nor be recovered from the TFWs
  • The LMIA processing fee doesn’t apply to occupations:
    • related to primary agriculture, and
    • positions under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 80020, 80021, 82030, 82031, 84120, 85100, 85101 and 85103

Recruitment fees

There may be a variety of fees and costs incurred in the process of recruiting TFWs, including, but not limited to:

  • cost of using a third-party representative
  • advertising fees
  • fees paid by a foreign national for assistance with finding or securing employment
  • fees paid by an employer for assistance or advice in the hiring of foreign nationals

As an employer, you must confirm and ensure that you or anybody recruiting on your behalf doesn’t charge or recover any recruitment fees, directly or indirectly, from the TFWs. Failure to do so will result in a negative LMIA decision.

Third-party representatives

If you choose to use the services of a third-party representative (paid or unpaid), you must complete the third-party information sections of the application.

You must not recover the costs for the services of a paid representative from the TFW. The third-party representative also cannot demand or recover the processing fee or other costs related to recruiting from the TFW.

We may communicate directly with you to verify information provided on the application form from the third-party representative and any employer-specific commitments.

We won’t mediate a dispute between you and a third-party representative nor communicate complaints to a regulatory body on your behalf.

If you have a complaint about your third-party representative, there are ways to get help.

Paid third-party representatives

You may choose to ask a third-party representative to act on your behalf when seeking to use the TFWP to hire a TFW. A paid representative must be authorized to collect a fee or to receive any other type of compensation (money, goods or services) to act on your behalf or to advise you in the application process. An authorized third-party representative is:

  • a member in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society or students-at-law under their supervision, or the Chambre des notaires du Québec
  • a paralegal in the Province of Ontario's law society
  • a member in good standing of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC)

Unpaid third-party representatives

An unpaid representative can also assist you but isn’t authorized to collect a fee or to receive any other type of payment for rendering services. An unpaid representative can be a:

  • family member
  • friend
  • not-for-profit group
  • religious organization

Recruiters

A recruiter or anybody recruiting for the employer is someone who:

  • finds or tries to find an individual for employment with the employer, or
  • assists another person in finding or trying to find an individual for employment with the employer, or
  • refers a foreign national to another person who finds or tries to find an individual for employment with the employer

Some provinces and territories have specific requirements for recruiters and recruitment activities. It’s your responsibility to ensure you comply with those requirements. As an employer, you’re also responsible for the actions of anyone who recruits on your behalf.

Returning employers

Employers who have employed a TFW in the 5 years prior to submitting a new LMIA application must ensure they have made reasonable efforts to provide a workplace that’s free of abuse. For information on the types of abuse and how to report it, see How to report abuse of temporary foreign workers.

workplace that’s free of abuse includes

  1. (a) proactive efforts made to prevent workplace abuse
  2. (b) reactive measures taken to stop abuse

Business legitimacy

All employers applying to the TFWP must supply documents along with their LMIA application to demonstrate that their business and job offer are legitimate.

Recruitment and advertisement

Before applying for the REP, employers must meet the minimum recruitment requirements of the stream for which they’re submitting an application. You’re required to make reasonable efforts to hire Canadians and permanent residents before offering a job to a TFW. You’ll also be required to continue your recruitment and advertising efforts until your job vacancies are filled. As part of your application, you’ll be asked to describe any recruitment efforts conducted.

For more information on the recruitment and advertisement requirements for a particular stream:

Transition plan

A transition plan, valid for the duration of the employment of the TFW, is a mandatory requirement to hire TFWs in high-wage positions. It describes the activities you’re agreeing to undertake to recruit, retain and train Canadians and permanent residents and to reduce your reliance on the TFWP. If you’ve never completed a transition plan before, you must submit one as indicated in the appropriate section of the LMIA application form for high-wage positions.

If you’re applying for an LMIA and have previously submitted a transition plan for the same position and work location, you must report on the results of the commitments you made in your previous transition plan. This will be used to determine if the described activities had been undertaken.

Transition plan exemptions

The transition plan requirement doesn’t apply if you’re requesting:

  • in-home caregiver or health care provider positions:
    • private household employers (under North American Industry Classification System [NAICS] code 8141) for in-home caregiver positions under NOC codes 31301, 32101, 44100 and 44101
    • health care institutions (under 2-digit NAICS 62) for health care provider positions under NOC codes 31301, 32101 and 33102
  • a position under the SAWP, the agricultural stream and other primary agriculture occupations
  • a specialized occupation that qualifies for Quebec’s facilitated LMIA process (applicable only to the first request for the same job at the same work location)
  • a position of limited duration where:
    • the job is time-limited in nature and the employment duration may range from 1 day to a maximum of 2 years
    • there’s no reasonable expectation that you could transition the position to a Canadian or permanent resident
    • the job won’t be filled after the departure of the TFW as the position will no longer exist (for example, project-based occupations, such as consultant for business management, specialized engineer for a dam construction project)
    • in some cases, repeat use of the specific position is the norm for the industry, but each employment duration is limited (for example, some film and entertainment positions, emergency repairs and warranty work)
  • a position with unique skills: skills or traits that belong to a specific individual and aren’t readily available in Canada (for example, NOC TEER 000 occupations, hiring by a foreign government)

Cap on proportion of low-wage positions

As of April 30, 2022, and until further notice, employers hiring for low-wage positions are subject to a 20% cap limit on the proportion of TFWs that can be hired at a specific work location. The cap is to ensure that Canadians or permanent residents are considered first for available jobs. 

For applications received between April 30, 2022, and October 30, 2023, from employers hiring workers in low-wage positions in the following defined sectors and subsectors, you’re eligible for a cap limit of 30%:

  • Construction (NAICS 23)
  • Food manufacturing (NAICS 311)
  • Wood product manufacturing (NAICS 321)
  • Furniture and related product manufacturing (NAICS 337)
  • Hospitals (NAICS 622)
  • Nursing and residential care facilities (NAICS 623)
  • Accommodation and food services (NAICS 72)

The sectors and sub-sectors classification code is determined by NAICS Canada.

If applicable, you must complete the “Cap for low-wage positions” section of the LMIA application to determine if you’re within the proportion of TFWs that you can hire in low-wage positions at a specific work location. You may be asked to submit documents, such as payroll records, to support the information provided.

Note:

  • For applications received as of April 30, 2022, the cap exemption for employers with fewer than 10 employees nationally is no longer applicable
  • Employers (including private household employers) with a total workforce size of fewer than 10 across all worksites in Canada must now complete the “Cap for low-wage positions” section of the LMIA application form. This total workforce size includes the vacant positions requested on the application and TFWs on previously approved LMIAs who have yet to start their employment
  • When completing the “Cap for low-wage positions” section, employers should enter “10” as their total workforce at the work location indicated on the application
  • Employers will be limited to hiring 2 TFWs (for industries with a 20% cap) or 3 TFWs (for industries with a 30% cap)

Exemptions to the cap

Exemptions include applications for:

  • on-farm primary agricultural positions, such as:
    • farm managers/supervisors and specialized livestock workers (NOC codes 80020, 80021, 82030, 82031 and 84120)
    • general farm workers, nursery and greenhouse workers and harvesting labourers (NOC codes 85100, 85101 and 85103)
  • caregiving positions for health care institutions (NAICS 62) for NOC codes 31301, 32101 and 33102
  • positions for which you’re submitting an application to support a TFW’s permanent residency under the Express Entry program
  • highly mobile or truly temporary positions (120 calendar days or less); this duration could be extended on a case-by-case basis if you can demonstrate that the peak season, project or event operates beyond 120 calendar days:
    • “highly mobile” is defined as a workforce that regularly crosses inter-jurisdictional boundaries (for example, provincial or territorial and/or international) as part of the business’ ongoing operations
    • “truly temporary” is defined as a specific short-term period or singular event where the position won’t be filled after the worker leaves the country
  • low-wage positions in seasonal industries that don’t go beyond 270 calendar days:
    • “seasonal” is defined as when both the industry and the occupation experience significant fluctuations in labour demand between “peak” and “off-peak” periods, usually occurring on or around the same dates every year
    • the exemption can only be used once per year in which the work is expected to begin, per work location. To use the one-time per year exemption for multiple applications, you must submit them all at the same time

Health insurance

In applicable provinces/territories, you must obtain and pay for private health insurance that also covers emergency medical care for any period for the duration of the work permit, during which the TFW isn’t covered by the applicable provincial/territorial health insurance system. However, the contract for employment in Canada for seasonal agriculture workers includes private health insurance that covers emergency medical care for any period during which the TFW isn’t covered by the applicable provincial or territorial health insurance system.

The coverage the employer purchases must correspond with the TFWs’ first day of work in Canada and the costs must not be recovered from the TFWs.

During an employer inspection, a Service Canada inspector will look at the policy coverage. They’ll make sure that it hasn’t been charged back to the worker, and that it covers at minimum the costs of basic emergency health care for sudden illness or injuries during the period the TFW isn’t covered by the provincial/territorial health insurance. Some private insurance companies offer more comprehensive plans, but Service Canada will accept a basic plan so long as it ensures that the TFW won’t have to pay for medical care if they become sick or have an accident while working in Canada.

To demonstrate compliance, the employer must be able to show proof of payment for suitable private health insurance for each TFW, as well as the terms of the policy coverage (for example, the details of what’s covered).

Workplace safety

You must always ensure that the TFWs you want to hire under the TFWP are covered by the provincial or territorial workplace safety insurance provider, where required by law. Where the provincial or territorial legislation allows employers the flexibility to opt for a private insurance plan, you must ensure that:

  • any private plan chosen provides better or the same level of compensation to that offered by a province or territory
  • all employees on the worksite are covered by the same provider

If you’re enquiring about private insurance plan equivalency, contact the appropriate provincial or territorial workplace safety authority.

The coverage you purchased must correspond with the first day the TFW works in Canada, and the costs must not be recovered from the TFWs.

Pesticides and chemical use

Employers using pesticides or other hazardous chemical must follow provincial/territorial rules. They must notify workers of pesticide and chemical use and provide workers with:

  • free protective equipment
  • appropriate formal and informal training
  • supervision where required by law

Housing inspections

If you’re hiring workers in the agricultural sector as a recognized employer, you must ensure that you complete annual housing inspection reports for employer-provided housing for each season and prior to the arrival of workers approved through the REP. A copy of the housing inspection report must be submitted with your REP application. You must also remedy any deficiencies or conditions imposed during the annual inspection, and ensure compliance with applicable provincial, territorial or municipal housing standards prior to the arrival of TFWs. Recognized employers are required to submit subsequent housing inspection reports, including when applying using simplified REP LMIAs for future hiring needs and it may be requested as part of an inspection or random REP check-ins.

Employment agreement

Although a copy of the employment agreement isn’t required at the time of LMIA submission, you must commit to providing a completed and signed employment agreement to each TFW on or before their first day of work with you. An employment agreement must:

  • include information for employment in the same occupation, with the same wages and working conditions as those set out in the offer of employment
  • be drafted in either English or French as preferred by the TFW, and
  • be signed by both the employer and the TFW

Employers can develop and use their own employment agreement as long as it contains all the necessary information. You can also use the employment agreement template for primary agriculture.

Employers must maintain complete employment records that fully document compliance with the employment agreement throughout the duration of the employment.

SAWP contract

For the SAWP sub-stream of primary agriculture, employers must use the standard, non-modifiable contract. The contract doesn’t need to be included in your application. However, employers are required to have a copy of the contract signed by both the employer and workers on file in case of an inspection.

The employment contract also requires the signature of the foreign government’s liaison officer and the TFW identified on the LMIA application. Employers don’t need to know the TFWs' names prior to their arrival in Canada. Employers must provide a copy of the employment contract to TFWs. The TFWs must sign the copy of this contract on the first day of work. Employers must provide copies of the contract in English or French and Spanish.

The purpose of the employment contract is to specify each party's rights and obligations. It also ensures that all parties understand and agree to the working conditions and their respective responsibilities. If differences arise between the employer and the TFW, the contract will guide the resolution. The parties may contact the Ministry of Labour:

  • in the event of demonstrable breaches of the employment contract, and
  • where no resolution, including possible compensation, has been made

Employment contract for workers from Mexico

Employment contract for workers from participating Caribbean countries

Note: A Spanish version of the employment agreement is available for reference purposes only. Employers are encouraged to share this information with their workers.

Language of work

English or French are the only languages you can identify as a job requirement in your application and job advertisement. However, if another language is essential for the job, you must provide a justification on the application.

Positions with no language requirement

There may be rare cases where a job offer doesn’t require any language for the TFW. For example, offers of employment related to work in the primary agriculture sector, which doesn’t require the ability to communicate in English or French.

For employment that’s not in the primary agriculture sector, if there’s no language required for the job, you must provide more details on the application, including:

  • how the TFW will perform job duties in an effective and safe manner without the ability to communicate in any language, and
  • what reasonable measures are in place to ensure health and safety of all persons at the place of work. To demonstrate this, you must also provide applicable and appropriate documentation with your application

Examples of reasonable measures are:

  • having translated workplace safety manuals and procedures
  • providing workplace safety training in the TFW’s identified language
  • using international safety signs that use symbols (pictures)
  • having official translators on-site, and/or
  • employing other workers or supervisors who can speak with the TFWs in their identified language

Unionized positions

If you’re applying to hire TFWs for positions covered under a collective agreement, you must:

  • advertise and offer the same wage rates as those established under the collective agreement
  • offer the TFWs the same terms and conditions as Canadian and permanent resident workers
  • submit a copy of the section of the collective bargaining agreement on the wage structure

The hiring of TFWs must not affect current nor foreseeable labour disputes at the workplace. During the LMIA assessment, if it’s determined that hiring TFWs is likely to adversely affect the course, the outcome or the settlement of any labour dispute, your LMIA request will be refused.

We recommend that you work actively with union representatives to recruit Canadians and permanent residents.

Employer compliance

As an employer, you must comply with all TFWP requirements for the position you’re requesting. Learn about employer compliance and the possible consequences of non-compliance.

REP employers will participate in the existing inspection regime as well as random REP-specific check-ins to assess that they meet both TFWP and REP rules.

Documentation retention

You must keep all documents used to support your application for at least 6 years beginning on the TFW's first day of work. We may request these documents at any time to verify your past compliance with program conditions.

Check-ins

Employers will be selected at random for REP-specific check-ins. These check-ins will be a verification of the REP commitments, where employers will be required to confirm REP conditions (for example, prevailing wage review, yearly recruitment, working conditions, completed housing inspection reports, etc.) are being met.

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