Canada: New Regulatory Protections for Foreign Workers

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points 

  • On Aug. 10, 2021 the Canadian Department of Citizenship and Immigration announced Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Foreign Workers) Act. These amendments protect foreign workers’ rights, improve government oversight in Labor Market Impact Assessment processes, and strengthen governmental ability to conduct inspections. 
  • Additionally, the Department launched updated features on the Job Bank website, allowing temporary foreign workers to locate jobs from eligible employers through a trusted source. 


A basic overview of the amendments are as follows: 

  1. Improved protections for temporary foreign workers: 
  • New requirement: employers must provide temporary foreign workers with an employment agreement. 
  • New restriction for employers: Retaliating against whistleblowers is prohibited. 
  • New requirement: When needed, employers must provide reasonable access to health insurance and general health insurance. 
  • New restriction: Recruiters can no longer charge recruitment fees. All employers will be liable for all recruiter practices. 
  1. Improved governmental oversight in Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) protocols: 
  • New regulation: employers who have not previously used the LMIA process are subject to a more thorough review. 
  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will have authority to defer processing of any non-compliant LMIA’s (even if noncompliance is suspected). Examples of noncompliance are unpaid wages, job duties surpassing approved tasks, etc. 
  • ESDC may now gather noncompliance information directly from third parties to evaluate wage information provided by employers. 
  1. During government inspections, the new rules implement shorter deadlines for document requests and corrective action for employers. 
  2. Updates to the Job Bank website include: 
  • Updated verified employer library; 
  • Updated job search filters and tools; and 
  • Heightened data security. 

What are the Changes? 

The Government of Canada believes that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in the Labor Market Assessment process and in other areas of employment. These updates aim to rectify the situation. 

Looking Ahead 

The Government of Canada will continue to monitor all hiring and labor market practices for temporary foreign workers. Other programs have been introduced in the past year to support this sector, including Budget 2021 (supporting community-based organizations providing foreign worker-centric programs and services and increasing inspection capabilities); and the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund (supporting employers who provide and upgrade living accommodations for farm workers). Employers should ensure they are acting in full compliance.  


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.