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Employer Responsibilities For Protecting TFWs And Canadians Against COVID-19

Canadian employers are allowed to bring foreign workers into the country, but they must do everything to ensure the safety of their workers and Canadian residents.

It is now compulsory for all travellers to Canada to undergo a fourteen (14)-day self-isolation period. They may not even stop at a friends place or grocery stores on their way from the airport to their destinations. Canadian employers are expected to facilitate this measure while maintaining the health and wellbeing of temporary workers, especially if they are providing accommodation.

The government of Canada has compiled some criteria for employers to follow in compliance with quarantine regulation. There are additional criteria for employers who provide housing facilities for their workers.

Nine Criteria for Canadian employers

  • Canadian employers must comply with all instructions and laws regarding the employer-employee relationships during the self-isolation period, given that the worker’s employment period is supposed to begin upon their arrival to Canada.
  • Employers must give temporary foreign workers their regular wages and benefit during the self-isolation period. Nothing may be deducted from a worker’s salaries due to self-isolations and proof of wages should be kept. For those temporary workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker stream, the provisions of the applicable contract must be adhered to. Other workers must be paid for a minimum of thirty (30) hours per week at the rate of pay indicated on the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Canadian employers may withhold standard contract deductions, such as Employment Insurances, as per the applicable immigration program criteria.
  • Employers can’t authorise workers to work during the self-isolation period even if requested by the workers. Exceptions apply only to worker who have been considered to be providing essential service by the Senior Public Health Officer. In addition, employers cannot request the workers to perform other tasks  during their self-isolation period, such as administrative tasks and building repairs.
  • Employers must constantly assess the health of workers who are self-isolating, as well as many employees who becomes sick after the self-isolation period. In practice that would mean the employer should meet with the workers on a daily basis and find out if the workers are experiencing any symptoms. They can meet this requirements either by texting, calling, emailing, or speaking in-person three metres away as a last resort. They should also keep a record of responses.
  • Employers must arrange for symptomatic worker to be immediately isolated from others and inform local health officials. Employers should also contact the appropriate Embassy.
  • Employers must make sure all Foreign workers have access to proper hygiene. This includes facilities that encourage them to wash their hands with soap and warm water. They can also provide soap and alcohol-based sanitizers if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Canadian employers should provide information to the workers on coronavirus either on or before their first day of self-isolation. It is suggested that employers dispense the information in a language that the worker understands, and consideration is given to the most right way to render the information, either in writing or by phone.
  • Canadian employers, and all residents, should report Quarantine Act violations to local law enforcement agencies. This includes workers that violates the mandatory self-isolation period.
  • All people in the country are expected to follow the latest public health criteria, including guidance from the federal and provincial governments where they operates. Employers are also required to strictly adhere to all applicable federal and provincial employment and health safety laws including new provision for job-protected sick leave as a result of coronavirus that are found in several areas.

Other additional requirements for employers providing accommodations or facilities. In cases where the requirements can’t be met as per providing housing for the workers, employers in Canada must find alternate accommodations, such as a hotel or guest house, in order to respect self-isolation requirements.