The federal government is considering lifetime bans and heftier fines for employers found to have violated its new regulations on temporary foreign workers. In a discussion paper posted overnight on the Employment and Social Development website, the government proposes permanent bans in addition to expanding penalties to include one-, five- and 10-year moratoriums that would forbid businesses from applying for temporary foreign workers.
Currently there are only two-year bans imposed on companies that have broken the rules. The names of the banned employers would be made public, the proposals state. There are currently four companies listed on the government’s so-called TFW public blacklist, with no new additions since early June, three weeks before Employment Minister Jason Kenney unveiled his crackdown on the program.
In efforts to deliver on that overhaul, the feds are also now proposing minimum fines of $500 to a maximum of $100,000 for serious violations- in particular those that have resulted in a significant financial benefit to an employer. The length of the ban would depend upon the type of violation, the employer’s history of compliance, the severity of the violation and the size of the business, the paper states.
The government is asking stakeholders for their input into the proposals. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 16. Stakeholders and critics say they’re puzzled by the proposals, wondering why the government hasn’t been taking such measures for years. Western premiers, including Alberta’s newly elected Jim Prentice, have complained that the government’s overhaul has been too onerous. Prentice is a former federal cabinet colleague of Kenney’s.
The western leaders say their provinces are grappling with low unemployment rates and facing genuine shortages of skilled labour, requiring temporary foreign workers to fill the void.
Jinny Sims, the NDP’s employment critic, also questioned why the government hadn’t been imposing such penalties for years. She also raised concerns about enforcing the tougher rules.
The government is also proposing penalizing employers even if their failure to comply was unintentional — for example, an accounting error that results in a temporary foreign worker being underpaid.
The feds say they’ll want to start assessing the circumstances surrounding a company’s non-compliance when determining the amount of the fine or the length of the ban “so there is still an incentive for the employer to take corrective action.”
Source: CTV News