Canada: New Regulatory Protections for Temporary FN Workers

July 28, 2021

Key Points 

  • On July 26, 2021, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), Marco Mendicino, announced new regulations providing added protections for temporary foreign national workers. The regulations help to mitigate and prevent abuse and/or mistreatment of workers during their time in Canada.  
  • There are 14 regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Foreign Workers)
  • The Government of Canada has monitored fraud and misrepresentation cases throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; 2020 trends inspired these changes. 

Overview 

IRCC and the Ministry of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion present three specific objectives for these new regulations: 

  1. Improving protections by:  
  • Requiring employers to provide all temporary foreign national workers information about their rights in Canada;  
  • Prohibiting retaliation and/or reprisal by employers against workers who express dissatisfaction or bring complaints; and,  
  • Implementing and enforcing key requirements for all employers to provide reasonable health-care service access, and health insurance packages when needed.

Additionally, these changes will prohibit charging recruitment fees to workers. 

  1. Improving the Government’s ability to catch bad actors before they attempt to hire FN workers by: 
  • Improving application procedures and assessments for new employers, and deferring Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) if they demonstrate suspicious or non-compliant procedures. 
  1. Strengthening the Government’s ability to conduct effective inspections by:  
  • Reducing processing timelines and improving third-party involvement (e.g., banks and payroll companies) to support inspection and documentation efforts. 
  1. Launching updates to the Job Bank platform, including: 
  • Updated eligible employer library; 
  • Updated job search tools; 
  • Reinforced data security parameters for workers utilizing the portal. 

What are the Changes?  

Throughout the pandemic, IRCC and the Government of Canada have tracked employer mismanagement of the Temporary Worker program. The Government has strengthened its supports for employers and workers, with upgraded data capabilities and security resources to catch misrepresentation and/or fraud. Additionally, the Government has hired live agents to offer guidance to foreign nationals in multiple languages.  

These changes are supported by the federal budget, with larger dedicated allocations than previous years.  

Looking Ahead 

IRCC and the Government of Canada hope to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a more secure and protective Temporary Foreign Worker Program. As the push for economic recovery continues, the Government aims to avoid exploitation and abuse of workers in the process. Employers with Canada-based or Canada-bound talent should ensure they are compliant with all practices and procedures.  

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Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional. 

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