Expect major changes in Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Expect major changes in Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Canada to bring in better protection for employees and tougher rules for employers.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and International Mobility Program (IMP) are two paths for temporary workers to come into Canada.

TFWP is for companies who want to bring in and hire non-Canadians for jobs that Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not willing to do.

IMP, whereas allows foreigners to work in Canada for jobs where there might be a Canadian available.

To understand the difference one must know about Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).Get help with Canadian work permits

LMIA is a form which employer has to complete if he has to hire TFWP. This basically shows that the employer even after trying could not find a Canadian to do the job. IMP on the other hand has no such LMIA form to be completed.

After discussions with employees, it came up that major problems faced by TFWs include:

  • TFWs often are unable to understand their rights completely.
  • Non-Complaint employers banned earlier were able to hire again through other companies they own.
  • Not having proper access to health care.
  • Many a times they were being charged illegal ‘recruiting fees’.
  • Fear among TFWs that if they reported any wrong doing, they may face employer reprisal. This caused the abuse at work never to be reported.

Canada has decided to strengthen the protections for TFWs so that they are less vulnerable. Following changes have been planned:

  • Employers of TFWs will have to provide a paper document to all TFWs outlining their rights. The same has to be posted in a public spot at the work place.
  • To make sure that the employee will be working in the same job, working conditions, and wages, as written in the employment offer each employer will have to give employment agreement to TFWs and the government.
  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) may pause processing of an LMIA under any suspicion that the employer has been non-compliant with the regulations.
  • Reprisal is also now considered abuse, making it clear that the employer provides a workplace free of abuse.
  • New requirements have been created for granting LMIAs. These are: making efforts that the workplace is free of abuse; making sure that the employer respects all federal and provincial employment rules; not to allow an affiliate or alter-ego of an ineligible employer to hire TFWs.
  • For a quicker resolution, the time an employer has to respond to a non-compliance concerns Notice of Preliminary Findings (NoPF) has been reduced from 30 days to 15.
  • Ban and punishment on employers and recruiters charging TFWs illegal recruiting fees will be tightened.
  • ESDC and IRCC will have the power to demand documents from third parties, such as banks, to ensure employer compliance.
  • Employers will be required to make special efforts to provide access to health care for sick or injured (at work) employees. An example might be to make arrangement at the workplace so that TFWs could call health services directly.
  • Employers under the TFWP (except those under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program) will be required to pay for and provide employees private health insurance including emergency medical care. Some TFWPs as of now are not required to provide such protection.

The Canadian government understands that the new regulations may bring in marginally higher costs on business. The benefits will outweigh this cost and will bring greater clarity for employers, employees, and government. This will also bring in stronger protections from TFWs.

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