May 20, 2024 12:01 PM

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Canada To Act Against Employers Violating Temporary Foreign Worker Program Rules

Canada has intensified its crackdown on employers violating the rules of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Fines totaling $2.7 million were issued on erring employers last year. The penalties were levied against 194 non-compliant employers, some of whom were also suspended from hiring temporary foreign workers. The move was aimed at safeguarding newcomers from potential exploitation.

Under the TFWP, employers must adhere to stringent requirements when hiring overseas workers. These obligations include meeting the criteria outlined in the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), complying with the terms specified in the LMIA decision letter and its annexes, and adhering to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). 

Employers must also maintain comprehensive records of the LMIA and inform Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) of any changes or errors in approved LMIA or TFW working conditions.

To ensure compliance, the IRCC conducts inspections under the IRPR. 

Between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, 116 non-compliant employers were identified. Of these, 93 faced administrative monetary penalties amounting to $1.54 million. 

However, during the same period, 1,011 inspections revealed that employers were compliant with justification and had rectified initial issues during the inspection.

Inspections may result in various outcomes, including a satisfactory outcome where no action is required, detection of compliance issues leading to the issuance of initial findings of non-compliance, and subsequent issuance of notices of the preliminary conclusions or final determinations if violations persist. 

The average fine imposed on each employer has risen significantly this year, reaching $28,836 in 2024 compared to $13,841 in 2023. 

Despite concerns about potential exploitation, IRCC’s Departmental Results Report for fiscal year 2022 to 2023 indicated that 95 percent of employer inspections found compliance. 

However, seven employers were banned from accessing the TFWP for various durations, demonstrating the government’s commitment to strengthening its compliance regime and protecting foreign workers.

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