Canada introduces stronger protection for temporary foreign worker program

Amendments to the program are intended to protect worker’s rights and improve workplace safety.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), along with Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), have announced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations relating to Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs).

In total, 13 amendments have been drawn up to strengthen protections for TFW and to enhance the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

ESDC says these rules will protect TFW from abuse and abuse in Canada:

  • mandating that employers provide all TFWs with information about their rights in Canada;
  • Prohibiting retaliation by employers against workers, for example against those who come forward with complaints; And,
  • Prohibiting employers from charging recruitment fees from employees and holding them accountable for the actions of employers in this regard.

Another addition would see that employers are responsible for providing access to health services for their employees. They must provide private health insurance to be used by employees as needed.

The department says the amendments are intended to deter bad actors from participating in the program and will improve the program’s ability to inspect workplaces, enforce rules, and deliver fair consequences for those who don’t follow the rules.

One possible outcome is the suspension of processing of any new Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a document that an employer submits to the ESDC that proves that hiring foreign workers did not negatively impact Canada’s workforce or economy. Will have to Any foreign worker must have a copy of this document in order to obtain a work permit to enter Canada.

The suspension of the LMIA will occur if the ESDC has good reason to suspect the employer of non-compliance with the new terms at risk to the health or safety of a foreign worker.

In addition to the amendments, there was a recent round table discussion between ESDC and stakeholders interested in improving the effectiveness of the TFWP. It is expected that similar meetings will be held in the years to come. ESDC has also implemented additional measures to improve the TFWP such as:

  • Increasing inspection equipment and mandatory training to strengthen inspection quality and timeliness;
  • Continuing to take advantage of an advanced tip line service, including live agents, allowing workers to flag any status of abuse or abuse of the program in a confidential manner;
  • continue to raise employers’ awareness of their obligations to promote compliance with the terms of the TFWP; And,
  • Expanding cooperation with consulates, as well as with provinces and local authorities, to help the Department identify concerns that require immediate attention and action.

Rights of TFWs

TFW has the same rights as Canadian citizens or permanent residents. This means that employers are legally obliged to provide a safe work environment free from harassment and retaliation.

Additionally, it is against the law for an employer to refuse to pay an employee for his work, as stated in an employment agreement, which includes overtime. Employees should be sure to have a signed copy of this agreement before the first day of work.

“In Canada, the rights of all workers—including temporary foreign workers—are protected by law.” Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says, “The International Mobility Program (IMP) sets the requirements and conditions for hiring TFWs in Canada and issues open work permits to vulnerable employees who are experiencing unjust work environments so that They can find new employers quickly. With these new rules in place, the Canadian government is strengthening its ability to protect temporary foreign workers and prevent potential abuse or abuse during the period of employment of TFWs in Canada. increasing its capacity.

What is TFWP?

The TFWP is designed to fill an immediate gap in Canada’s labor force by allowing employers to hire internationally. However, the employer must be able to demonstrate a genuine need to take this step by obtaining a labor market impact assessment (LMIA). Without one, they would only have to hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Unlike other immigration programs, there is no limit on the number of TFWs that can enter Canada.

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