Government of Canada takes action to improve employer compliance and better protect temporary foreign workers
September 27, 2023 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) plays an important role in Canada’s economy, allowing Canadian employers to hire foreign workers to fill jobs when qualified Canadians are not available. Ensuring the health and safety of these workers while they are in Canada is essential, and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has been taking action to ensure broad compliance with the rules.
Last fiscal year, over 2,100 ESDC inspections were completed. Of the employers inspected, 94% were ultimately found compliant, and 6% were found non-compliant. Employers who are found to be non-compliant with TFWP conditions are listed on a public-facing website managed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
From April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, 116 employers were found non-compliant with the TFWP. Of these, 93 employers have faced administrative monetary penalties totalling $1.54 million for violating the conditions of the program. In addition, 23 employers were issued a warning, and seven employers are now banned from using the program, some for up to five years. For example:
- An employer in the transport sector was penalized $258,000 and given a five-year ban from the program for failing to provide adequate wages, adequate accommodations, and safe working conditions, among other violations.
- An employer in the construction industry faced a $53,000 monetary penalty and a five-year ban from the program for failing to provide adequate wages and working conditions.
- An employer in the transport sector faced a $152,250 monetary penalty along with a five-year ban from the program for failing to provide adequate wages and working conditions; failing to comply with federal, provincial and territorial laws that regulate employment; and failing to retain documents as required for the assessment of compliance with the program conditions.
The Government of Canada takes its responsibilities to protect temporary foreign workers very seriously and continues to take steps to improve employer compliance with the TFWP. In September 2022, new regulations were implemented that improve the program’s ability to conduct inspections and increase overall compliance by helping employers adhere to the rules and holding them accountable. These efforts complement other recent initiatives, including the launch of the new Migrant Worker Support Program and the TFWP Workforce Solutions Road Map.
Moving forward, the Government intends to provide updates on TFWP compliance efforts on a semi-annual basis
The TFWP allows employers in Canada to hire a foreign worker when no Canadians or permanent residents are available. In 2022, there were 204,700 temporary residents with work permits through the TFWP, representing roughly 1% of the labour force.
There are three categories of violations in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations that result in Administrative and Monetary Penalties (AMP) and bans from the TFWP. These violations include those that would put the life or safety of a temporary foreign worker at risk, failing to pay appropriate wages, failing to provide safe working conditions and appropriate accommodations, violations related to COVID-19 and quarantine, and when temporary foreign workers are victims of some types of abuse.
To help further protect the health and safety of temporary foreign workers, on April 1, 2022, ESDC implemented an external referral protocol to notify the appropriate authorities within 48 hours in situations where the health or safety of the temporary foreign worker is at an immediate risk. As a result, from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, over 47 escalations have occurred, with referrals made to provincial and federal stakeholders due to concerns that temporary foreign workers may have been provided with unsafe and unsuitable living conditions
- Cutting red tape for employers who protect temporary foreign workers
- Government of Canada strengthens protections for temporary foreign workers as new regulations come into force
- Government of Canada announces Workforce Solutions Road Map – further changes to the Temporary
- How to report abuse of temporary foreign workers
- Open work permit for vulnerable foreign workers who are victims of abuse
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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