Recognized Employer Pilot: Expedite Hiring Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Last updated: 15 August 2023

REP Pilot CV Page

Canada has introduced the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) as part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

Employers who have been found eligible to take part in the new pilot can benefit from a simplified Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, longer validity for approved LMIAs, and more. Read on to learn about eligibility, processing fees, employer requirements and more. 

If you are an employer looking to hire a foreign worker, please complete our contact form to schedule a free telephone consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm.

Table of Contents


Effective September 2023, the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) will simplify the process of hiring a temporary foreign worker for Canadian employers who:

Employers recognized under this scheme can benefit from validity periods lasting up to 36 months, and a simplified Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application process for hiring additional employees via the LMIA Online Portal. An exemption can be requested if applying through the LMIA Online Portal is not feasible.

The REP is formed with administrative efficiency in mind and seeks to deliver:

  • Faster and more reliable access to employees for employers;
  • Enhanced worker safety; and
  • Expanded flexibility for the Canadian workforce.

Eligible Occupations for the REP

The REP consists of two phases. The phase for which you apply will be determined by the job you wish to fill. 

Phase one will begin in September of 2023, for five specific occupations. 

Phase two, starting in January 2024, will expand the list of eligible occupations.

Employer Eligibility

When applying for the REP, your LMIA application will be thoroughly reviewed by Service Canada to establish if you are qualified for the REP.

You may be eligible for the REP if:

  • You have received at least 3 favourable LMIA decisions over the last 5 years, to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs) for roles on the REP occupations roster;
  • You have a proven track record of meeting the highest parameters for working conditions, living conditions and worker protection through your engagement with the TFWP; and
  • You pledge to abide by standard TFWP requirements.

Despite meeting the above eligibility requirements, you may still be deemed unsuitable for the REP if:

  • You have received negative LMIA decisions;
  • You have been observed as non-compliant;
  • serious accusations have been made against you for endangering the health and safety of TFWs;
  • You have neglected to fulfil obligations related to inspection check-ins; or
  • There exist changes in the labour market that affect the role you aim to fill.

There is no need for extra information when applying for the REP. Upon submitting your LMIA, you can opt to apply for REP concurrently. Eligibility judgment will be based on your prior association with the TFWP.

Eligible employers can benefit from a longer validity time for their approved LMIAs (up to 36 months), and access a simplified LMIA process in the future, when hiring additional workers through the LMIA Online Portal. If you are unable to apply using the online portal you can also request an exemption.

Employer Requirements

Employers looking to take part in the REP pilot must ensure that they meet all the employer requirements outlined for participants of the TFWP.

Fees for Recruitment

In the act of recruiting TFWs, various costs and fees may arise, which could include:

  • charges for engaging a third-party representative;
  • advertisement costs; and
  • costs a foreign national might incur to seek and secure employment,
  • expenses an employer might bear for guidance or help in appointing foreign nationals.

As an employer, you are obliged to verify and ensure that neither you nor anyone recruiting on your behalf imposes or recovers any recruitment fees, either directly or indirectly, from the TFWs. Failure to adhere to this will lead to a negative LMIA verdict.

Applications made with the use of a third-party representative must have all of the relevant sections completed on their application. To learn more about using a recruiter for the TFWP, click here.

Business Legitimacy

All employers seeking to take part in the REP pilot and the TFWP must provide documents and verification that their business and job offer are legitimate.

Recruitment and advertising

Before applying for the REP, it is necessary for employers to fulfil the prescribed advertising and recruitment criteria for the respective stream of the TFWP they are applying for.

The protocol demands that you prioritize hiring Canadians and permanent residents before assigning a job to a TFW. You are further obligated to persist with your recruitment and promotion activities until your job openings are duly filled. Additionally, as part of the application process, you will be asked to detail all recruitment endeavors that you have undertaken.

Click here to learn more about advertising requirements and individual streams of the TFWP.

Transition plan

The creation of a transition plan is a compulsory step in hiring TFWs for high-wage roles. The plan should span the length of employment for the TFWP, and express your commitment to activities aimed at recruiting, retaining, and training Canadians and permanent residents, to reduce future dependence on TFWPs. If you've not constructed a transition plan before, one should be included as stated in the relevant section of the LMIA high-wage position application form.

Regarding LMIA applicants who have previously submitted a transition plan for a same-position and work location application, you are required to provide an update on the outcomes of your previous plan's commitments. This information will be utilized in determining if the outlined activities have been implemented.

There are also advertising exemptions in place for certain positions.

Cap on low-wage workers

Starting from April 30, 2022, all employers recruiting for low-wage positions, all employers are subject to a maximum limit of 20% is imposed on the TFWs they can hire at a specific work location. This restriction is imposed to ensure that priority is given to Canadians or permanent residents for job opportunities.

Certain occupations in specific industries are also eligible for a 30% cap on low-wage workers are a specific location.

Lastly, exemptions to the low-wage worker cap also exist for certain occupations and industries.

Health Insurance

In relevant provinces/territories, it is necessary to secure and pay for private health insurance, inclusive of emergency medical care, for any time throughout the work permit period where the TFW is not covered by the respective provincial/territorial health insurance system. Additionally, the employment contract for seasonal agriculture workers in Canada stipulates the inclusion of private health insurance covering emergency medical care for any time that the TFW isn't under the protection of the applicable provincial or territorial health insurance system.

The insurance acquired by the employer should align with the TFWs' first workday in Canada and the charges should not be recuperated from the TFWs.

To learn more about health care obligations for employers under the TFWP, click here.

Workplace safety

Like all other workers in Canada, TFWPs are entitled to a workplace that is safe and free of any kind of harassment.

It's imperative that you provide TFWs that you wish to employ under the TFWP with protection through the provincial or territorial workplace safety insurance provider, as required by law. However, if the provincial or territorial legislation offers employers an opportunity to opt for a private insurance plan, remember to:

  • Ensure the selected private plan delivers similar or superior compensation compared to that provided by a province or territory; and
  • Confirm that each worker at the worksite has coverage from the same insurance provider.

For inquiries regarding the equivalence of a private insurance plan, reach out to the corresponding provincial or territorial workplace safety authority.

The coverage that you've secured should reflect the first day the TFW begins their work in Canada, and these costs should not be retrieved from the TFWs.

Employers handling pesticides or potentially harmful chemicals must adhere to provincial/territorial regulations. They need to inform their workers about the usage of these substances and equip their workers with:

  • No-cost protective gear;
  • Relevant formal and informal training; and
  • Supervision as mandated by law.

Employment Agreement

While it isn't necessary to provide a copy of the employment contract at the time of LMIA application, it is essential that you pledge to supply a filled out and signed employment contract to each TFW either on or before their first working day with you. An employment contract needs to:

  • Include details pertaining to the same profession, same salary, and work conditions as mentioned in the job offer;
  • Be written either in English or French as per the preference of the TFW; and
  • Be signed by both the TFW and the employer.

Employers are allowed to create and utilize their unique employment contracts as long as it includes all the required details. The employment contract template for primary agriculture can also be employed.

Employers are obligated to maintain comprehensive employment records that fully prove compliance with the employment contract for the entire duration of the employment.

There are additional employment contract stipulations for those in the Seasonal Agriculture Worker Pilot sub-stream of the TFWP.

Housing Inspection / Language of work / unionized positions / document retention

In addition to these requirements, employers participating in the REP pilot also have to meet specific conditions around their TFW’s language of work, quality of housing (if they are an agriculture worker), treatment if their profession is covered by a union, and the retention of their documents.

To learn more about program conditions and requirements, click here.

Check-in and review.

According to the conditions listed previously, recognized employers participating in the REP agree to:

  • Engage in the current inspection system and random REP verification visits to ensure compliance with both TFWP and REP guidelines;
  • Guarantee that TFWs receive the prevailing wage displayed for the job and the work location where the TFW is engaged, on a yearly basis;
  • Persist in making reasonable attempts to employ Canadians or permanent residents, with ongoing recruitment activities from sources of their choice until all vacancies are filled; and
  • When relevant, carry out mandatory inspections of employer-furnished accommodations before each season's arrival of TFWs. Compliance with all provincial, territorial, or municipal laws regarding housing standards is required.

Employer Non-Compliance

Note that if an employer participating in the TFWP is found non-compliant to any of the standards of the program, they can face repercussions including but not limited to:

  • Being banned from the TFWP and International Mobility Program (IMP) for two years;
  • Having their business name and address posted on Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC’s) employers who have been found non-compliant page;
  • Receive a negative decision on any LMIAs still in process; and/or
  • Suspension or revocation of any LMIA’s already issued.

To learn more about employer compliance in the TFWP click here.

Processing Fees

Each position applied for under the REP comes with a compulsory processing fee of $1,000 to cover your application's processing costs.

The processing fee is non-refundable if you withdraw your application, if your application is cancelled, or if your application is negatively assessed. Refunds are only issued if a fee has been mistakenly levied.

TFWs cannot pay or be reimbursed for the processing fee.

The LMIA processing fee is not applicable to jobs:

  • within primary agriculture; and/or
  • those aligned with National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 80020, 80021, 82030, 82031, 84120, 85100, 85101 and 85103.

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