Trusted Employer Program

Business Liaison Group under the EI Commissioner of Employment Social Development Canada Proposed Guiding Principles for a Trusted Employer Program*

* This document was prepared by a multi-stakeholder group of industry associations that are not specific to agriculture. It was intended as a preliminary overview of potential principles for a Trusted Employer Program, to spark further discussion and review by individual organizations. CFA Service Delivery group has included things that agriculture farm employers recommend.

The new Government mandate letter for ESDC requires the Minister and Dept to create a Trusted Employer Program for the TFWP. Alberta Beekeepers’ Commission Members have an opportunity to provide feedback on these proposed Trusted Employer ideas that have been developed by the Employment Insurance Commissioner’s working group, which have been expanded for agriculture by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) industry working group.  Ideas that are shared with the ABC will be passed onto the Canadian Honey Council & CFA to collect and represent to the EI Commissioner’s Business Liaison Group.

Canadian employers welcome the introduction of a Trusted Employer program to streamline application process for Canadian companies hiring temporary foreign workers to fill labour shortages that cannot be filled by Canadian workers.

To become a Trusted Employer an Employer must demonstrate that:

  1. They are compliant with all employment, and labour standards
  2. In good standing with all payroll and tax remittances
  3. No violations of labour laws in the decade previous
  4. A minimum of 2 years’ experience in utilizing TFW program
  5. Service Canada accredited training undertaken by the employer/worker through third parties, such as sector councils (CAHRC), with respect to program compliance, and HR best practices.

Once certified as a Trusted Employer the employer should be entitled to:

  1. An online application process – This should automatically reflect regional unemployment/vacancy rates by NOC to guide to streamlined process. Automated processing and prompt decision.
  2. A shorter application – A shorter application form in general would be of interest, noting what’s been the same as a previous year, via pre-filled forms. This would have the benefit of minimizing unnecessary back and forth with officials at Service Canada, promoting focus on the employer, not the forms.
  3. No fee – Already available for agricultural employers.
  4. Labour market impact assessment
    1. Streamlined – LMIA processing in Quebec remains significantly longer than other jurisdictions and needs to be addressed.
    2. No LMIA process for occupations that have a job vacancy rate (must be specific to a particular NOC code) above a prescribed threshold (4%) and in an EI region with an Unemployment rate below the national average or 5% – must be by sector, not the generic unemployment or vacancy rate
    3. Amend the advertising criteria for LMIAs to allow trusted employers from the same sector to jointly advertise rather than as individual organizations.
    4. 3-5 year LMIA – Seasonality needs to be accommodated, given SAWP work permits are only 8 months in duration and don’t allow for year-round work. Many agricultural stream employers also rely on the program for seasonal labour needs. Work permit considerations also need to be factored in, to align with this extended term.
  5. Co-ordination across all departments – including work permit and all related processing requirements
  6. Linkage of the temporary foreign worker program to provincial nominee programs and a pathway to permanent residency
  7. Expanded NOC codes and levels eligibility
  8. Flexibility for employee to work throughout the workplace, permitting contract modifications for TFWs if both parties consent, to alter agreed-upon wages or change duties, still adhering to federal and provincial wage and labour standards. – This should provide for greater flexibility in agriculture as well, allowing trusted employers in the same sector/region to work share where there is agreement between employers, the worker, and oversight from Service Canada. We would note caution around expanding labour mobility any more broadly than this (e.g. push for open work permits), as agricultural employers are already experiencing poaching/unethical recruiting of TFWs from other sectors in Canada.
  9. Exempting trusted employers in the program from the Transition Plan requirements.
  10. Allow for 20 percent cap in single facility for those with trusted employer status.
  11. For those with trusted employers’ status, create a temporary foreign worker (TFW) labour pool where semi-skilled or skilled TFWs who have been terminated without cause can register with an open work permit, creating a ‘pool’ from which other qualified industry specific employers from across Canada can recruit – Not critical, but preference would be to provide for a noc-specific or sector-specific work permit.
  12. An outcome of this process must be to focus both processing and integrity/inspection resources on high-risk employers and areas of concern, rather than driving sector-wide reactions that unduly expend departmental resources. A Trusted Employer Program should amount
  •  This model cannot be approached as a panacea to broader processing concerns. Systemic improvements for LMIAs and Work Permits are still the priority objective.
  • Number of employees should not be a meaningful criterion. No minimum threshold should be in place.