Two policy experts have called on Canada’s provinces to adopt the methods used by Manitoba in protecting the rights of temporary foreign workers.
Robert Vineberg and Christopher Rastrick point to Manitoba’s requirement for all employers and recruiters who use the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to register with the provincial government.
The pair, who both represent advisory group the Canada West Foundation, also highlight how the province prohibits the charging of both direct and indirect fees to temporary workers, requiring employers to post bonds to cover any expenses incurred illegally.
In an article published in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Vineberg and Rastrick note that similar legislation was recently passed in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, before saying: “Other provinces need to follow suit.”
“This provision encourages Manitoba employers to contract only with reputable recruiters,” they write.
“Violations of the act by an employer can lead to fines and even disqualification from hiring foreign workers.”
The article continues: “The provinces can do more to ensure the rights of this vulnerable group are protected.
“Despite rules in place to prevent abuses, many Canadians would be surprised at the challenges and precarious situations many temporary foreign workers face.”
Mistreatment Scenarios Outlined by Vineberg and Rastrick
- Unscrupulous recruiters abroad charging inordinate fees to find temporary foreign workers a job.
- Employers demanding reimbursement for their travel.
- Employers overcharging for accommodation.
- Workers forced to do overtime without pay.
- Wages far less than the average for the occupation.
- Inadequate workplace safety, and safety training.
- Workers do not know where to turn when they are mistreated.
A parliamentary committee recently gave 21 recommendations on how it would change the TFWP.
Several of them are designed to provide mechanisms for protecting the rights of temporary workers, including by stopping the issuing of employer-specific work permits.
Key Parliamentary Committee Recommendations
- Take immediate steps to eliminate the requirement for an employer-specific work permit; provided that it implement appropriate measures to ensure temporary foreign labour is only utilized within the existing provisions of the LMIA process, including sector and geographic restrictions.
- Establish measures to ensure incoming migrant workers and their employers are informed of their rights and responsibilities under TFWP, including dispute resolution and abuse reporting procedures, as well as information on wages, benefits, accommodations and working conditions. This information should be provided in the language of preference of the migrant worker.
- Provide multiple entry work visas for temporary foreign workers employed in seasonal work, with the objective of allowing these individuals greater mobility during off-seasons; that when a work visa is extended, the multiple entry visa must also be extended so workers can continue to enter and leave Canada.
Inspections of firms that employ temporary workers have increased significantly under the Liberals, as new powers – implemented in December 2015 – are enforced.
Those found not adhering to TFWP rules are subject to wide sweeping administrative money penalties (AMPs) of up to $100,000 per violation to a maximum of $1 million in any one-year period.
Employers can also be banned from using the program for one, two, five or 10 years, or permanently in the most serious cases.
The rules also apply to the International Mobility Program (IMP), a spin-off from TFWP which includes intra-company transfers and free-trade agreement work permit categories.
Banned employers are also ‘named and shamed’ on the federal government’s website.
The Steps to a Canadian TFWP Visa (each step is fully explained here)
- Determine if you require a work permit to work in your desired job in Canada
- Determine if you are eligible to apply for a Canadian temporary work permit
- Determine if you will apply online or on paper
- Obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from your potential employer, if required
- Obtain a temporary job offer from your potential employer
- Gather required documents and forms
- Pay fees
- Submit application
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.
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- Bill Gates Endorses Canada’s ‘Enlightened’ Immigration Policies
- Parliamentary Committee Recommends 21 Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program: What Difference Will They Make?
Read more news about Canada Immigration by clicking here.