According to a recent article in the Canada Gazette, the Canadian government is proposing major changes to the rules for temporary foreign workers (TFW). There are two ways for temporary workers to enter Canada.
The first is the TFWP, which stands for Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). This stream is for businesses or companies that want to hire non-Canadians to fill positions that Canadian citizens or permanent residents are unwilling to fill.
The other is the International Mobility Program. This pathway allows foreign nationals to work in Canada, even if a Canadian is available to fill the position.
The main difference between a TFWP job and an IMP job is that the TFWP requires an LMIA, whilst the IMP does not.
LMIA stands for Labour Market Impact Assessment. It’s a form that an employer fills out if they want to hire through TFWP.
It demonstrates that the employer attempted but failed to recruit a Canadian to fill the position.
During discussions, employees expressed their concerns. They also out that TFWs are frequently unable to understand and exercise their rights.
The following were major issues:
- Employers who had previously been found to be in violation of regulations were able to avoid recruiting TFWs. Such employers do it by employing people through other businesses that they own.
- TFWs are oblivious to their rights and what they entail.
- TFWs are unable to obtain adequate health care. Recruiters or employers are charging TFWs illegal “recruiting fees.”
- TFWs are afraid of retaliation from their employers if they voice concerns about working conditions. Employees have been afraid to report mistreatment because of these anxieties.
Being a TFW in a new nation with a new culture can put you at risk. As a result, Canada has made the decision to tighten TFW protections.
The following adjustments are planned by the government:
- Requiring all TFW employers to give a printed document outlining TFW rights to each TFW. Employers would also be required to publish this information in a visible location at work.
- All employers must produce a written agreement to both the employee and the government. This document verifies that the employee will have the same job, working conditions, and pay as stated in the job offer.
- Clearly stating that the employer provides a safe working environment. Abuse can also include retaliation.
- Allowing Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to halt LMIA processing if it suspects the employer has not complied with the regulations.
- Developing new criteria for granting LMIAs. These will include making reasonable efforts to ensure that the workplace is free of abuse, demonstrating that the employer abides by all federal and provincial employment laws, and not allowing an affiliate or alter-ego of an ineligible employer to hire TFWs.
Reducing the time an employer has to respond to a Notice of Preliminary Findings (NoPF) from 30 to 15 days.
A NoPF indicates that there are non-compliance issues. A shorter response time will allow for a faster resolution.
Employers and recruiters who charge illegal recruiting fees to TFWs will face stricter penalties.
Giving ESDC and IRCC the authority to request documents from third parties, such as banks, in order to ensure employer compliance.
Requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to provide employees who become ill or injured at work with access to health care. Setting up a phone in the workplace for TFWs to call health services is one example.
The Canadian government acknowledges that the new regulations may increase business costs. Outlays, on the other hand, are expected to be minimal.
For example, an additional 10 minutes to provide each TFW with the employment agreement and working conditions.
Employers, employees, and the government will all benefit from increased clarity. TFWs, in particular, will benefit from enhanced safeguards.