The Government of Canada has provided a key update on new flexibility to the eligibility criteria of the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program.
Repeat employers under the REP have been defined as employers who have received a minimum of three positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) decisions in the last five years.
Meeting this eligibility criteria may introduce a challenge to employers when applying a strict consecutive five-year reach-back period, especially if they did not apply for and receive a positive LMIA in 2020 or 2021 when an employer’s hiring plans were affected by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The new flexibility introduces an alternative reach-back period of five non-consecutive years for employers who did not receive a positive decision on an LMIA application in 2020 and/or 2021.
For example, an employer who received a positive LMIA in 2022 and did not receive a positive LMIA in 2020 and 2021 could now use a positive LMIA decision dating back to 2016 towards his/her five-year reach-back period. In the event that an employer experienced a COVID-19 shutdown in only one calendar year, only one additional reach-back year will be added to the reach-back period offered.
The alternative reach-back period will be automatically considered when employers apply under the pilot, there is no additional information that employers need to provide to be considered for this flexibility. It is also important to note that the reach-back period for employers can begin in either 2023 or 2022; an employer’s last non-REP positive LMIA will be used to make this determination. No reach-back period will be offered to employers in receipt of a negative LMIA decision in 2020 and/or 2021.
Employers who regularly access the TFW Program and have no previous history of non-compliance are encouraged to apply.