Compliance information for employers hiring temporary foreign workers

From: Employment and Social Development Canada


Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, there are changes to this program.

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COVID-19 resources available to help you meet public health goals

Your obligations as an employer

As an employer, you must:

  • meet the requirements of the:
  • keep all relevant records for 6 years from the day we issued the work permit, including:
    • documents related to the LMIA
    • documents related to the conditions set out in the IRPR
    • conditions outlined the LMIA decision letter and its annexes
  • inform us (through the Employer Contact Centre: 1-800-367-5693) right away of:
    • any changes or errors with an approved LMIA
    • changes in TFW working conditions
  • address any compliance issues and voluntarily notify us

Reasons for an inspection

Under the IRPR, we can inspect for the following reasons:

  • we suspect non-compliance
  • you were non-compliant before
  • random selection
  • a worker is or was subject to an order or rule under the Emergencies Act or the Quarantine Act
  • we find a communicable disease at the worksite

Learn how to comply with pandemic inspections.

Authority to inspect

Under the IRPR, we can:

  • inspect the LMIA decision letter and annex
  • Inspect the treatment of TFWs, up to 6 years after the TFW has started working
  • interview TFWs and employees to confirm you are complying with the program.

Inspections may be:

  • on-site and/or virtual
  • announced or unannounced
  • without a warrant (excluding private dwellings)

If your business is inspected

We will let you know:

  • the period under review
  • the authority for the inspection
  • the condition(s) with which you must prove compliance
  • what happens if you don’t respond to the inspection or don’t comply with conditions
  • instructions you will need to follow:
    • what you must provide
    • who must be on hand for interviews

In the case of an on-site visit, our inspectors can:

  • interview employers and employees
  • request copies of documents
  • take photographs, video or audio recordings during the inspection
  • examine anything on the premises related to the IRPR and the LMIA approval letter
  • request access to examine your computer or other electronic devices
  • conduct inspections with other relevant authorities as needed
  • in the case of an in-home caregiver, enter a private household with consent or with a warrant

When told of an inspection you must:

  • attend the inspection, answer questions and prove compliance
  • follow-up in the time specified

What inspectors are looking for

During an inspection, we will verify whether you follow the conditions set out in the:

  • offer of employment
  • LMIA decision letter, annexes, and the IRPR

Inspectors can look at 28 conditions to make sure you:

  • comply with all federal and provincial and/or territorial laws that regulate employment and recruiting
  • remain engaged in the same business the as the offer of employment for the length of the TFW’s work permit
  • provide TFWs with employment in the same job as stated in the employment offer
  • pay TFWs wages that are mainly the same but not less favourable than those in the employment offer
  • provide working conditions that are mainly the same but not less favourable than those in the employment offer
  • make every effort to provide an abuse-free workplace
  • fulfill LMIA commitments with regards to:
    • create and protect jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents
    • hire or train Canadian citizens and permanent residents
    • develop skills and knowledge for the benefit of Canadians or permanent residents
    • the transfer of skills and knowledge for the benefit of Canadians or permanent residents
  • prove efforts to hire and/or train Canadians or permanent residents (if that was one of the factors for hiring the TFW)
  • prove that the info provided in the LMIA application is accurate
  • provide adequate housing (SAWP employers only)

Employers of live-in caregivers must show that the TFW:

  • has private, furnished living areas in the household
  • provides care to:
    • children
    • a person living with a disability without supervision, or
    • home support for seniors
  • is paid the wages specified in the employment contract

Results of the inspection

  • your inspection is satisfactory:
    You do not have to do anything; the inspection is complete.
  • there are compliance issues:
    We will send you an initial finding of non-compliance. We will ask you to justify why you were not compliant with the program. When you provide your reasons, please make sure to include:
    • what you did to correct the non-compliance, and
    • what you did to make sure that it does not happen again

If we accept the reason(s), then your inspection is complete. No further action needed.

If you fail to provide information, or if we do not accept your justification, we will issue a Notice of Preliminary Finding (NOPF). This includes the violation(s) details and potential results.

You will have one final opportunity to respond and provide new information or documentation regarding the justification.

If issues relate to the pandemic conditions, you have 5 days from the date of the NOPF to respond to the inspector. If not, you have 30 days from the date of the NOPF to respond to the inspector.

In either case, you may request a time extension to provide your response. We consider these on a case-by-case basis.

Any new details you provide could affect the NOPF and/or penalty decision(s).

If the final assessment concludes with violation(s), we will issue a Notice of Final Determination (NOFD) which explains:

  • the reason(s) for the ruling:
    • the condition(s) violated
    • how you failed to comply
  • the consequence(s), and
  • the next steps

Please note: If you are inspected and have submitted a new LMIA application before the inspection ends, a positive LMIA will not likely be issued if you are found non-compliant. In this case, there is no refund for the new LMIA processing fees.

Consequences of non-compliance

If we find you non-compliant of a violation that occurred before December 1, 2015:

  • you are banned from the TFWP and the International Mobility Program (IMP) for 2 years
  • your business name, address and details of the violations(s) will be posted on an IRCC website
  • any pending LMIAs may receive a negative decision
  • we could suspend or revoke any LMIAs already issued

If we find you non-compliant for a violation that occurred on or after December 1, 2015, you could face:

  • a warning
  • penalties up to $100,000 per violation, to a maximum of $1 million per year
  • a permanent ban from the TWFP and IMP for the most serious violations
  • publication of your business name and address on an IRCC website with details of the violation(s) and/or consequence(s)
  • suspension or revocation of previously issued LMIAs

We determine results for violations that occur on or after December 1, 2015, based on a points system.

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