Reforms to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations relating to Temporary Foreign Workers have been announced by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (TFWs). There are 13 changes intended to strengthen TFW rights and the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP).
According to ESDC, new measures will protect TFWs in Canada against abuse by
- Employers of TFWs are required to provide information to all TFWs on their legal rights in Canada.
- Employees who file complaints should be shielded from retaliation by their employers.
- preventing companies from charging them and holding them responsible for recruiting fees paid to employees.
Another change will be the realisation that providing access to healthcare services for employees is primarily the responsibility of the company. They must make private health insurance available for employees to utilise when necessary.
The department reports that changes will enhance the program’s ability to evaluate workplaces, administer the regulations, and impose suitable penalties for individuals who choose not to abide by them while also preventing bad actors from contributing to the programme.
Employers who hire foreign workers may be barred from completing fresh Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs), which demonstrate that doing so will not harm the Canadian workforce or economy. A duplicate of this document is required for any foreign employees in order to obtain a work permit to enter Canada.
If ESDC believed that a company was not abiding by the new rules in a way that jeopardised the health or safety of foreign workers, the LMIAs for that employer might be suspended. A roundtable discussion was recently convened by ESDC and stakeholders interested in enhancing the TFWP’s efficacy. Over the years, it is anticipated that similar meetings will occur. Additional steps taken by ESDC to enhance the TFWP include:
- Improvements to inspection instruments and required training must be put into place in order to increase the quality and timeliness of inspections.
- Employees can anonymously report programme abuse or exploitation by using a live tipline service.
- Inform employers of their duties to encourage adherence to the TFWP’s rules and regulations.
Temporary Foreign Workers’ Rights
Similar rights apply to TFWs as they do to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. This means that employers have a duty under the law to provide a workplace free from harassment and retaliation. Additionally, it is unlawful for an employer to deviate from the terms of an employment agreement by refusing to pay an employee overtime. Before beginning work, employees must have a signed copy of this agreement.
In a recent interview, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated that “all workers’ rights, including those of temporary foreign workers, are safeguarded by law in Canada. The international mobility programme specifies the circumstances and qualifications for hiring TFWs in Canada and grants open work permits to helpless employees who are subjected to unfair treatment at work. With the implementation of these new measures, the Canadian federal government is better able to protect temporary foreign workers and advance its ability to prevent potential abuse while TFWs are employed in Canada.