Canada introduces strengthened protections for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

posted on October 14, 2022

CIC News | October 13, 2022

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) alongside Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations concerning Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs).

In all there are 13 amendments designed to strengthen protections for TFWs and enhance the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP).

ESDC says these regulations will protect TFWs from abuse and mistreatment in Canada by:

  • mandating that employers provide all TFWs with information about their rights in Canada;
  • prohibiting reprisal by employers against workers, for instance against those who come forward with complaints; and,
  • prohibiting employers from charging recruitment fees to workers and holding them accountable for the actions of recruiters in this regard.

A further addition will see that employers are responsible for providing access to healthcare services for their employees. They must provide private health insurance to be used by employees as needed.

The department says the amendments are intended to deter bad actors from participating in the program and will improve the program’s ability to inspect workplaces, enforce the rules and administer appropriate consequences for those who choose not to follow the rules.

One possible consequence is the suspension of the processing of any new Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs), a document an employer submits to ESDC that proves hiring foreign labour will not have a negative impact on Canada’s workforce or economy. Any foreign hires must have a copy of this document to get a work permit to enter Canada.

Suspension of LMIAs would happen if ESDC had good reason to suspect an employer of non-compliance with the new conditions at the risk of a foreign worker’s health or safety.