Canada’s federal government has introduced new rules for employers under the International Mobility Program in light of restrictions in place due to coronavirus pandemic.
The changes make it mandatory for employers to allow workers to complete their 14 days of quarantine on arrival in Canada and pay them for the period, even if they are unable to work.
The IMP changes come after restrictions were put in place at the federal level under the Quarantine Act. The IMP changes state that both the Quarantine Act and provincial health laws and regulations related to COVID-19 must be followed by temporary workers.
“This includes requiring a worker to do anything that is contrary to those requirements,” says a statement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Furthermore, the changes mean workers failing to follow rules including the mandatory 14-day quarantine period can become inadmissible to Canada. Employers who do not comply with rules could face administrative monetary penalties and be banned from hiring foreign workers.
IRCC says officers will conduct inspections to ensure rules are being followed.
Where a job previously offered is no longer available, candidates should be told not to travel to Canada until it becomes available, IRCC says.
The International Mobility Program allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers on a Canada work permit without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Foreign nationals travelling to Canada must be doing so for ‘non-optional and non-discretionary’ reasons even if they are covered by exemptions to COVID-19 restrictions.
IRCC says those covered by exemptions to travel restrictions will not be allowed to travel ‘for the purposes of tourism, recreation and entertainment’.
The exemptions include:
- Seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers.
- International students who hold a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020.
- Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 18, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
Examples of non-optional and non-discretionary reasons offered by IRCC include travel for:
- Economic services and supply chains.
- Critical infrastructure support.
- Health (immediate medical care), safety and security.
- Supporting Indigenous communities.
- Transiting through Canada for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes.
- Studying in Canada if already approved for a study permit on or before March 18.
- Tending to family matters for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes (such as bringing supplies to elderly parents or tending to sick family members) when there is no one else available in Canada to assist.
- Any other activities that are deemed non-optional or non-discretionary by the Government of Canada or based on an officer’s assessment.
Currently, any traveller with COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter Canada regardless of the reason for travel or exemption.
Furthermore, anyone entering Canada from the US or any other country is required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days upon entry.
Travellers are also required to present a quarantine plan, with details of where they will stay, how they will get groceries and medication and whether they will be staying with vulnerable people.