Our Chamber views this pilot as a step towards making it easier for employers to bring skilled workers into Canada and reducing red tape. A program like this is something our Chamber discussed in previous meetings with federal ministers.
The federal government announced the program on August 8. REP will be rolled out in two phases: first, primary agriculture employers will be able to apply starting in September 2023, while all other employers will be eligible to apply in January 2024. Employer applications for REP will close in September 2024.
Alongside a commitment of $29.3 million over three years, REP was first announced in Budget 2022 as the “trusted employer model.” Under REP, eligible employers will gain access to Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) that are valid for up to 36 months, while also benefitting from a simplified LMIA application, should they need to hire additional workers from the same occupation during the Pilot.
To participate in REP, 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.