These regulatory amendments are part of a shift that kicked off in April 2013 and are designed to encourage employer non-compliance. Essentially, they represent an increase in obligations for employers using temporary foreign workers – and carry with them a heavy price for non-compliance.
New regulatory conditions placed on employers include:
- Employers must be able to show that any information provided in connection to a Labor Market Impact Assessment and/or a work permit application was accurate. Documentation must be retained for six years.
- Employers must provide each temporary foreign worker with employment in the same occupation set out in the offer of employment, with pay and working conditions that are as good as in the offer.
- Employers must make reasonable efforts to ban the workplace of sexual, psychological, physical and financial abuse.
- Employers must comply with federal as well as provincial laws regulating employment and employee recruitment.
Immigration and Service Canada officers have expanded powers to conduct inspections to verify compliance. These inspections may either be random or conducted if concern arises. Inspectors may enter workplaces without a warrant, and may demand to see any documentation, including having access to an employer’s computer systems.
As an employer of temporary foreign workers, you are required to implement internal systems and procedures that ensure:
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- Front-end compliance during recruitment
- Compliance during preparation and filing of LMIA and/or work permit applications
- Ongoing compliance requirements during and beyond employment life cycle
- Preparation to deal with reviews or inspections
- Preparation to justify findings of non-compliance
- Ability to avoid a ban from using temporary foreign workers and/or penalties relating to non-compliance.
The regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act set forth new statutory obligations that may require new internal policies and practices to ensure compliance. Here are a few of the most significant changes, as outlined by William MacGregor of the Gowling Lafleur Henderson law firm.