The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in Canada is a government initiative that allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers for temporary positions when they are unable to find suitable Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill those roles. This two-stage program is part of Canada’s broader immigration system and is designed to address labor shortages in various industries. The first stage directs the employer to obtain a neutral or positive result on a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). There are several LMIA streams, such as the Low-wage stream and the High-wage stream, each with its own requirements and regulations. Employers must meet specific criteria. Once the neutral of positive result is received, the first stage is complete and the process moves on to the second stage (obtaining a work permit).
Foreign workers must obtain the necessary work permits to participate in the program. The program’s details and requirements are monitored by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) by controlling the compliance of the employers with the rules. Those employers who are not compliant are listed on a public website and are facing with one of the following sanctions:
- an amount of money
- a prohibition on using temp employees
Government of Canada is constantly trying to improve the TFW program and protect the Canadian foreign workers by implementing new regulations which will improve the employer compliance with this program. Canada starting from September launched a new pilot program called The Recruitment and Employment Pathway (REP) aiming to simplify the hiring of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) for employers with positive Labor Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) history. The Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) is a two-phase, three-year pilot initiative. Phase 1 REP applications opened to Canadian Employers in the agricultural sector in September 2023. Phase 2 applications will open in January 2024 and include a wider range of eligible occupations. Depending on the position the applicants are applying for, they’ll need to choose a different phase. Validity periods of up to 36 months for approved LMIA applications are available to recognized employers. When employing more employees, they can also use a streamlined LMIA application.
Who is eligible?
According to Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) data, to be eligible what is required from companies is to have three favourable LMIAs for occupations identified on the REP Occupations List.
Employers will no longer need to submit an LMIA prior to each application under the new system if they can show “a history of complying with program requirements” and receive a three-year approval to employ temporary foreign employees.