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Canada Updates Employer Compliance Rules For Foreign Workers Without SIN

Canada updated employer compliance rules to specify that temporary foreign workers can still work without a SIN card.

Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have specified that Canadian employers must pay foreign workers even if they do not yet have their Social Insurance Number (SIN), but as long as they are processing to get one.

Though foreign workers still have to apply for the Social Insurance Number within three days of starting employment, they do not have to get their number to begin working but they have to give it to their employer within three (3) days of receipt.

The SIN is a nine-digit number that enables people to work in Canada or have access to government social programs.

It is used for identity purposes, and it is a crime for someone to use someone else’s number. Service Canada also offers a list of programs that requires SIN.

They also provide a list of scenarios where it is not required since the SIN is a sensitive document. Employers require access to their employees’ SIN after they are employed.

There are a number of guidelines that Canadian employers must comply with when employing foreign workers under the International Mobility Program, for example, they must provide the foreign citizen with employment in the same occupation, with the same wages, and work conditions that are “substantially the same as— but no less favourable than—” those set out in the offer of employment.

Employer compliance and inspections

In terms of wages, Canadian employers must pay workers no less than what is stipulated in the offer of employment. Any deductions to a worker’s wages must be stated in the offer.

An increase in wages may show a change in duties, which could mean the employee is now working in a different occupation than what is specified in the offer.

Sometimes an increase in wages also results in employer non-compliance if the wage increase would have affected the worker’s ability to qualify for the Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption.

While mandatory quarantine requirements are in place, all new immigrants to Canada must self-isolate for fourteen (14) days. Employers must still pay their employees the wages specified on the offer of employment during this time.

Employers may be subject to inspections by officials working on behalf of IRCC. Inspections ensure that employers of foreign citizen workers are upholding their responsibilities, thereby ensuring that foreign workers are not mistreated.

There are three main circumstances where an employer could be nominated for an inspection:

  • when there is a reason to suspect non-compliance;
  • when the employer has been found non-compliant in time past; or
  • the employer has been picked randomly.

The employer who lodged the offer of employment to IRCC to employ a temporary worker will be responsible for meeting the program conditions.

They may be chosen for inspection at any time after the first day the foreign worker is employed and up to six years after their work permit has been released.

Employers who had authorized representative lodge offers of employments on their behalf are still responsible for complying with all inspection activities and requests.