Canada has introduced new rules for employers under the International Mobility Programs in light of restrictions in place due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The changes make it compulsory for employers to allow workers to complete their fourteen (14) days of quarantine on landing in Canada and pay them for the period, even if they are not able to work.
The International Mobility Program (IMP) changes come after restrictions were instituted at the federal level under the Quarantine Act. The IMP changes says both the Quarantine Acts and provincial health laws and regulations related to coronavirus must be followed by temporary foreign workers.
“This includes requiring a temporary worker to do anything that is against those requirements,” says a statement Canada’s immigration Ministry (IRCC).
In addition, the changes mean workers failing to follow rules including the compulsory fourteen (14)-day quarantine period can become inadmissible to Canada. Canadian employers who don’t comply with new rules could face administrative monetary penalties and be banned from employing temporary foreign workers.
IRCC says officers will carry out inspections to ensure compliance to this rules.
Where a job position previously offered is no longer open or available, workers should be told not to travel to Canada until it becomes available, says IRCC.
The International Mobility Program allows employers in Canada to hire temporary foreign workers on a Canada work permits without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Foreign nationals coming to Canada must be doing so for ‘non-discretionary and non-optional’ reasons even if they are covered by exemptions to coronavirus restrictions.
IRCC says those covered by exemptions to travel restrictions will not be permitted to travel ‘for the purposes of recreation, tourism and entertainment’.
The exemptions include:
- Seasonal agricultural worker, fish/seafood workers, caregiver and all other temporary foreign workers.
- International students who hold valid study permits, or had been approved for a study permits, when the travel restriction took effect on March 18, 2020.
- Permanent resident candidates who had been approved for permanent residence prior the travel restrictions were announced on March 18, 2020, but who has not yet come to Canada.
Examples of non-discretionary and non-optional reasons offered by IRCC include travel for:
- Economic services and supply chain.
- Critical infrastructure supports.
- Health (immediate medical care), safety and security.
- Supporting Indigenous community.
- Transiting through Canada for non-discretionary or non-optional purposes.
- Studying in Canada if already approved for a study permits on or prior March 18.
- Tending to family matters for non-discretionary or non-optional purposes (such as bringing supplies to the aged.
- tending to sick family members) when there is no one else available to help in Canada.
- Any other activities that are considered non-discretionary or non-optional by the Canadian government or based on an officer’s assessment.
Presently, any traveller with coronavirus symptoms will not be permitted to enter Canada regardless of the reason for exemption or travel.
Furthermore, anyone coming to Canada from the United States or any other country is required to self-quarantine for a period of fourteen (14) days upon entry.
Travellers are also asked to provide a quarantine plan, with details of where they will stay, how they will buy groceries and medications and whether they will be living with vulnerable people.