Canada introduced a three-year pilot program Aug. 8 that would incentivize employers to follow worker-protection rules by making it easier for them to hire temporary foreign workers.

Randy Boissonnault, minister of employment, workforce development and official languages, announced the Recognized Employer Pilot program, which is part of the Temporary Foreign Worker 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 labor they need to fill jobs that are essential to Canada’s economy and food security,” Boissonnault said in a statement.

The program was first announced in the 2022 budget as the “trusted employer model,” with a commitment of $29.3 million over three years. Through the program, eligible employers will gain access to Labor Market Impact Assessments that are valid for up to 36 months. An LMIA is a document employers apply for that indicates the need for a foreign worker to fill the job and shows that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job. An LMIA typically is valid for 18 months. Eligible employers also will benefit from a simplified LMIA application should they need to hire additional workers from the same occupation during the pilot program.

The employer’s trusted status would also be noted to prospective workers in the government’s job bank.

To participate in program, employers must have a minimum of three positive LMIAs for the same occupation over the past five years 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.

The program will be rolled out in two phases: First, primary agriculture employers will be able to apply starting in September, while all other employers will be eligible to apply in January 2024. Employer applications for the program will close in September 2024.