Businesses in Prince Edward Island have expressed concern over the stiff new penalties for those who violate the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program rules.
Experts say the penalties will especially hurt small businesses, with P.E.I. businesses still struggling to find workers after other recent changes to the TFW program. This includes the ‘four-in four-out’ rule and the requirement that TFWs must only comprise a maximum of 30 per cent of total personnel.
The penalties were announced by the federal government and include a lifetime ban from the TFW program and fines of up to $100,000 for each violation, up to a maximum of one million dollars per year. The penalties will come into force on December 1, 2015.
While a revision to the appeals process now allows employers 30 days to respond to an investigation to avoid going to court, critics say the new penalty regime is still too harsh.
With the new limit on TFWs, the P.E.I Seafood Processors Association is struggling to maintain the workforce they had at the beginning of the season.
A similar problem is being faced by P.E.I. Select Tours, which needs to hire Japanese tour guides who are fluent in Japanese. The tour operator has been facing problems in trying to convince immigration officials that they cannot hire Canadian citizens for these jobs.