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 received positive LMIAs for positions on the REP occupations list as follows:

  • you've received at least 3 positive LMIA decisions in the last 5 years to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs), or
  • you didn't submit an LMIA application in 2020 or 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions, but:
    • you received at least one positive LMIA decision in 2022 or 2023, and
    • you received 2 other positive LMIA decisions as far back as 2016
  • 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 only need to submit an LMIA application to apply for the REP. When you submit your LMIA, you'll have the option to apply for the REP at the same time; no additional information is required. 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. Some types of LMIA applications can't be considered for the REP, such as any kind of Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) transfer.

Once approved to the REP, you'll be able to benefit from longer validity periods of up to 36 months for positions on the REP occupations list. This will allow you to plan and apply for positions that address your labour needs over a 3-year period (until December 31, 2026). A refund won't be provided if the number of positions requested is reduced during the assessment of your labour needs. It's your responsibility to ensure that the number of positions that you request reasonably meets your business needs. Subsequently, you'll have access to a simplified LMIA application to submit your future requirements.

Phase 1

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

Phase 2

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

REP duration

Service Canada will stop accepting REP applications on September 16, 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 on December 31, 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 annual wage reviews on January 1 of each year to ensure that TFWs are receiving the most current prevailing wage for the occupation and work location where they're employed, regardless of the wage on the approved LMIA
  • continue to make reasonable recruitment efforts to hire Canadians or permanent residents until all positions are filled, including meeting the minimum recruitment requirements for the stream for which you submitted your application
  • where applicable, meeting the housing inspection requirement of the stream for which you submitted your application and address any deficiencies or conditions imposed on the annual inspection to ensure compliance with applicable provincial, territorial or municipal housing standards before TFWs arrive, and
  • where applicable, ensure the proportion of TFWs in low-wage positions doesn't exceed the cap for your location of work

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. There will be no refund if some or all the requested positions aren't approved.

  • 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 decision. 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 Qu├ębec
  • 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, visit:

Employers who wish to hire foreign workers in specific categories are subject to a variation in the recruitment and advertising requirements. Visit Variations to minimum advertising requirements for more information.

Transition plan (if applicable)

If you're hiring TFWs in high-wage positions, a transition plan is mandatory. 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.

For more information on the transition plan requirements, consult the High-wage stream section.

Cap on proportion of low-wage positions (if applicable)

If you're hiring TFWs in low-wage positions, you may be subject to a cap 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 more information, consult the Cap on proportion of low-wage positions section.

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 applicable)

Before applying for the REP, you must meet the housing inspection requirement of the stream for which you're submitting an application.

For more information on the housing inspection requirements for a particular stream, visit:

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 (if applicable)

For the SAWP stream of primary agriculture, employers must use the standard, non-modifiable contract. However, some types of LMIA applications can't be considered for the REP, such as any kind of SAWP transfer.

For more information, consult the SAWP contract section.

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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