Quarantine, testing and other COVID-19 measures for temporary foreign workers and employers
Changes to border entry requirements came into effect on August 9, 2021.
Please see the information on this page on how these changes impact temporary foreign workers. For related information, please see the news release.
On this page
- Getting tested to enter Canada
- Documentation required prior to departure
- Arriving in Canada
- Getting your Day-8 COVID-19 quarantine test
- Health requirements and general guidance
- Compliance and inspections
Getting tested to enter Canada
Do temporary foreign workers require a negative COVID-19 test before coming to Canada?
- Yes. All travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result in order to enter Canada
- Airlines will refuse boarding to travellers who are unable to provide a valid molecular test result
- For more information, please visit the Getting tested to enter Canada section of the Flying to Canada: COVID-19 testing page
If a temporary foreign worker has received a vaccination before arriving, do they still need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test and quarantine?
- Fully vaccinated travellers must continue to meet all other entry requirements, including a pre- and on-arrival test, and have a suitable quarantine plan in place
- Temporary foreign workers who are fully vaccinated with the full series of a vaccine, or combination of vaccines, accepted by the Government of Canada, administered at least 14 days prior to entering Canada, and who meet the requirements (asymptomatic, electronically submit COVID-19 information on ArriveCAN prior to departure, including proof of vaccination in English or French [or certified translation]) are exempt from quarantine, and the Day-8 test
- Travellers not meeting all of the criteria must follow entry restrictions, testing and quarantine
- For more information on accepted vaccines, and to determine if you are considered fully vaccinated, please see the COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada page
Note: provinces and territories may have their own border measures as well as public health guidelines within their jurisdictions. Provinces and territories may also apply additional public health measures, such as imposing quarantine on fully vaccinated temporary foreign workers. It is important that employers and workers check for the most up to date information on federal, territorial and provincial requirements.
Who pays for costs associated with temporary foreign workers entering the country?
- Meeting entry requirements, including the cost of pre-departure testing, is the responsibility of the source country, employer, and/or the temporary foreign worker
- At this time, the Government of Canada will provide the COVID-19 tests upon arrival at no cost to the traveller
Documentation required prior to departure
What documentation do temporary foreign workers need to bring with them when travelling to Canada?
- There are document requirements for all travellers entering Canada, including those listed below. For a current list and more information, please see the Flying to Canada requirements checklist page:
- a valid passport (and visa if applicable)
- pre-entry COVID-19 test results
- all travellers will be required to disclose COVID-19 vaccination information, including whether they received a COVID-19 vaccine, the brand name or any other information that identifies the vaccine that was received, the dates on which the vaccine was administered, and the doses received. Travellers must retain a copy (paper or electronic) of their vaccination documentation and the originals of any certified translations for verification at the border and for 14 days following their entry into Canada
- a quarantine plan that includes details for the following information:
- isolation accommodation for 14 days or possibly longer
- the accessibility to the necessities of life, including water, food, medication and heat without leaving quarantine
- prevention of contact of others who did not travel
- prevention of visitors while in quarantine
- a receipt from ArriveCAN confirming information was submitted (screenshot, email or printout)
- address of quarantine location (housing)
- In addition, temporary foreign workers also need to have:
- a valid work permit or a port of entry letter of introduction issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada that shows the worker has been approved for a work permit. This document shows that the worker is allowed to travel to Canada during the travel restrictions
- telephone number and email address so that Canadian officials can contact the worker
- employer's contact information
Arriving in Canada
What is the process for temporary foreign workers arriving at airports receiving international arrivals? Changes in effect August 9, 2021
- International inbound passenger flights to Canada are being directed to one of 9 airports designated to receive international passenger traffic:
- Halifax International Airport
- Québec City International Airport
- Montréal-Trudeau International Airport
- Ottawa International Airport
- Toronto Pearson International Airport
- Winnipeg International Airport
- Edmonton International Airport
- Calgary International Airport
- Vancouver International Airport
These airports, in cooperation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and Transport Canada, are working to implement the measures necessary to safely welcome international passengers as soon as possible after August 9, 2021 as conditions dictate.
- Travellers are to use ArriveCAN to submit information and report during quarantine
- Travellers, including temporary foreign workers, are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival while at the airport.
- Unvaccinated Temporary foreign workers are still required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, even if they have received a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to departure.
Effective August 9, 2021 using a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings, fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 test
- Travellers who are not considered fully vaccinated, and who receive a negative result, will be required to proceed to their quarantine location and take a Day-8 test later in their 14-day quarantine period. For information on accepted vaccines, and to determine if you are considered fully vaccinated, please see the COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada page.
- Before leaving the airport, workers requiring a second test later in their mandatory 14-day quarantine period will be provided with instructions for taking their test
What is required for those using public transport to get to their final destination in Canada? Changes in effect August 9, 2021
- All travellers are expected to comply with public health measures as they travel to their final place of quarantine, including wearing a face mask, maintaining 2 metres physical distancing where possible and practice proper hygiene
- Additional guidance while in transit includes the following:
- avoid stops and contact with others while in transit to quarantine
- use a private vehicle if possible
- remain in the vehicle as much as possible
- pay at the pump for gas and use drive through when you need food
- wear a suitable mask at all times unless you are alone in a private vehicle
- practice physical distancing
- sanitize your hands frequently and avoid touching surfaces
- Employers should also check and follow any relevant provincial or territorial restrictions and requirements before arranging onward travel. For interprovincial travel, please consult the Canada.ca website Travel, quarantine and borders page
What is being done for provinces that do not have one of the designated airports for international travellers?
- An agreement has been made between the federal and provincial governments to allow for an Alternative Testing Protocol (ATP) for airports not designated to receive international charters
- In order for a province to be permitted to have international charters land in a non-designated airport, they must first submit a letter signed by the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, confirming their interest in pursuing an ATP
- In the letter, the province must confirm and agree to the following:
- that they are able to administer Day-1 and a subsequent test. This includes sharing test results with the Public Health Agency of Canada and sending positive samples to the National Microbiology Laboratory for sequencing (process to allow for data sharing currently underway)
- that they are able to isolate symptomatic workers awaiting the results of tests, and that they can isolate workers who test positive in a suitable isolation location
- that they will ensure that private transport to the quarantine location meets public health requirements, including appropriate infection prevention and control measures
Does this mean that temporary foreign workers can land in any airport provided the province is able to request alternate testing protocols?
- No, not all airports have the capacity or infrastructure to perform testing, safely social distance, or sufficiently isolate workers
Which provinces have pursued alternate testing protocols?
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
- Prince Edward Island
- Alberta and
- British Columbia
Are any temporary foreign workers exempt from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada’s mandatory quarantine requirements for all travellers coming into Canada?
- Pursuant to an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act, most temporary foreign workers must quarantine for 14 days upon initial arrival to Canada
- There are, however, exemptions from the quarantine requirements for some groups, provided they have no COVID-19 symptoms. These include people who are deemed by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada to provide an essential service because they:
- are making necessary medical deliveries of cells, blood and blood products, tissues, organs, or other similar lifesaving human body parts, as required for patient care
- work in the trade and transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods and people, including truck drivers, crew on any plane, train or marine vessel, and that cross the border while performing their duties, or for the purpose of performing their duties
- Please note that in this case, the foreign worker would still need to quarantine for 14 days upon initial entry into Canada, but may be exempt from the requirement during any re-entry into the country that corresponds with their work duties
- cross the border regularly to go to work, including in the healthcare sector or critical infrastructure workers for the purpose of performing their duties; or
- have to cross the border to provide or receive essential services, including emergency responders and personnel providing essential services to Canadians related to the COVID-19 outbreak
- Temporary foreign workers who are fully vaccinated are exempt from quarantine. For the latest information, including information on accepted vaccines, please see the COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada page
- Upon each arrival at Canadian ports of entry, travellers are required to follow the instructions of a government of Canada representative designated to administer the Emergency Orders under the Quarantine Act. Government of Canada representatives will:
- administer the Emergency Orders for COVID-19 on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada
- determine if an individual's travel purpose for travelling to Canada falls within the definition of the exemptions of the Emergency Orders
- assess travellers for potential risks to public health, in accordance with their designation under the Quarantine Act
- Individuals exempt from quarantine requirements must follow the latest public health requirements including wearing a non-medical mask and physical distancing
What are the designations on essential services by provinces and Public Safety Canada?
- Public Safety Canada has developed a set of functions deemed essential in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to help provinces/territories, Indigenous communities, and municipalities protect their communities while maintaining the reliable operation of critical infrastructure services and functions to ensure the health, safety, and economic well-being of the population
- In addition, many provinces/territories have communicated essential services within their jurisdictions
These determinations do not constitute exemptions from the requirement to quarantine
Getting your Day-8 COVID-19 quarantine test
General testing information
- Day-8 tests are required by travellers who have received a negative on-arrival test and who are not fully vaccinated
- The process for Day-8 testing for temporary foreign workers depends on where they arrive and where they are quarantining. More information will be provided upon arrival. If your test will be managed by Switch Health or Dynacare, more information is provided below
- The Government of Canada has introduced new supports for employers of temporary foreign workers in the agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors to support the facilitation of the COVID-19 test
- Temporary foreign workers are allowed to leave quarantine to have this test; however, they are expected to follow all public health measures (e.g. wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing) issued by government authorities when they do so. For more information see the how to quarantine section of the Mandatory quarantine or isolation page
- For more information on travelling to Canada, visit the COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders page
What is the process if my Day-8 test is to be managed by Switch Health?
- The process for Day-8 testing for temporary foreign workers depends on where they arrive and where they are quarantining. More information will be provided upon arrival
- Switch Health is responsible for managing the Day-8 testing process for many temporary foreign workers, including those arriving and quarantining in Ontario
- Switch Health has a dedicated call centre and email channel for employers of temporary foreign workers in the agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors for the Day-8 COVID-19 tests– For more information see the Switch Health website
- Switch Health can assist directly in the facilitation of the Day-8 COVID-19 test by contacting them directly at 1‑888‑511‑4501 or emailing email@example.com
- Employers will be prompted to provide specific information about their organization so that the Day-8 test can be administered in a manner that best supports the organization and their workers
- Employers in Ontario are able to book Day-8 tests for temporary foreign workers directly online using Switch Health’s online booking tool
- In the tool, select the number of workers requiring testing, your preferred time slot, contact information, and additional details. You will receive a confirmation email right away
- If your preferred time slot is not available, please contact Switch Health as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org
- If a worker already has an appointment booked, there is no need to rebook
- The following information is important for processing tests:
- when swabs are sent to Switch Health, they must be labelled according to the instructions in the test kit
- each worker must write their name on the label provided and place it on the test tube, being careful not to cover the serial number
- Employers must also use these new channels to contact Switch Health directly if there are any concerns about outstanding COVID-19 tests for temporary foreign workers
How will the Day-8 test for temporary foreign workers in agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors in Quebec be administered?
- The process for Day-8 testing for temporary foreign workers depends on where they arrive and where they are quarantining. More information will be provided upon arrival
- Dynacare is offering COVID-19 testing services to temporary foreign workers in the agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors in Quebec
- to book a Day-8 testing appointment, please contact Dynacare Customer Care by phone at 1‑888‑988‑1888 and following picking your language of choice, press “3” to be connected to a call centre agent or by email at TETCOVID@dynacare.ca
- hours of operation for Dynacare Customer Care office are as follows:
Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and Saturday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm EDT
- Dynacare will be conducting onsite COVID-19 collections, or virtual collections assisted by a healthcare professional
- At the time of booking, more detail will be provided on the collection process and what to expect
Effective August 9, 2021 fully vaccinated temporary foreign workers may be exempt from the 14-day quarantine provided they meet all the required conditions. Required conditions can be found on the COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada page.
Unvaccinated temporary foreign workers are still required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, even if they have received a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to departure.
When does the quarantine period end?
- Workers who must quarantine must remain in quarantine until they receive a negative result from Day-8 test and have completed their mandatory 14 days of quarantine
- Workers who have not received the results of their Day-8 COVID-19 test before the expiration of the 14-day quarantine period, beginning on the day they enter Canada, are required to remain in quarantine until they receive their negative test result via a PHAC-identified laboratory or for another 14-day period – whichever comes first
- In short, after 28 days, the worker has no further obligations under the Order in Council and their quarantine period ends
- If a worker receives a positive result on their Day-8 test, they must isolate from others immediately for a period of 10 days that begins from the time they took the test with the positive results
- For more information, see the Flying to Canada: COVID-19 testing for travellers page
Who is responsible for providing financial support for temporary foreign workers during the initial quarantine period?
- Temporary foreign workers are not eligible to receive the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) for the initial quarantine period upon arrival to Canada
- The employer of the temporary foreign worker who is required to isolate or quarantine themselves for a period on entry into Canada must provide the worker with wages during the initial quarantine/isolation period for a minimum of 30 hours per week (minimum 5 hour per working day over 6 days) at the hourly rate of pay specified in the Labour Market Impact Assessment and/or offer of employment. This is consistent with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s genuineness policy, which indicates that reasonable employment needs are a full time workload (such as, a minimum of 30 hours per week). For more information, please see the Guidance for employers of temporary foreign workers page
- The initial quarantine period applies each time a temporary foreign worker enters Canada, even if they are returning to their employment, such as after a vacation or absence outside of the country. Therefore, the employer must pay wages to the worker for that period, and the worker should not apply for the CRSB
- If the quarantine/isolation period is extended for any reason, workers must continue to be paid accordingly by the employer (for a minimum of 5 hours per day or 30 hours per week)
- Should a worker become ill at any time following the initial quarantine period, they may be eligible for other government sickness benefits, such as the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit or EI Sickness Benefits. More information is also found in Section 5 of the COVID-19: A Guide for Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada page
What is the employer’s role in ensuring the worker has access to food and medicine during the quarantine period?
- Employers must not prevent or inhibit workers from meeting their obligations under the Quarantine Act in any way
- Quarantine obligations require that workers go directly to their place of residence upon arrival in Canada, which includes not stopping to purchase food or any supplies. Workers are also not allowed to go to stores during the quarantine period. Further, some workers may not have access to food delivery, due to the location of their accommodations, access to internet, credit card, etc.
- Therefore, many workers coming into Canada will require assistance in arranging for food, medicine, and/or basic supplies. Employers are expected to help with this as required, but are not expected to pay for it. The employer must not deny assistance, if the foreign worker needs the assistance of the employer to access the necessities of life. This includes when the lack of such assistance would result in the worker needing to leave quarantine to obtain food and other basic survival items
- Costs for food, medication, basic supplies, or other necessities could be paid by the worker upon delivery, or through a payment plan. Any plan to cover costs should be mutually agreed upon between the employee and employer, ideally in writing. For workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) typical employment contracts provisions remain in place which allow for workers to elect to cook their own meals or arrange for the employer to provide meals at the worker’s cost
- Employers are expected to ensure that the foreign workers have access to the essentials without inflated prices or surcharges. Food provided should be fresh, of good quality and responsive to the workers’ requests
- Preventing workers from accessing food or other basic necessities could be considered preventing or inhibiting workers from meeting their obligations under the Quarantine Act and employers found non-compliant could face penalties of up to $1M and a permanent ban from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Health requirements and general guidance
What are temporary foreign workers’ responsibilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
- Temporary foreign workers are responsible for following all public health measures issued by government authorities within Canada. The latest information, including contact information for local health authorities, is available on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 webpage
- During the quarantine period, this includes remaining in their place of residence and keeping a minimum of 2 metres away from other people. After the mandatory quarantine period, workers should continue to practice physical distancing and consider the use of a mask or face covering when they cannot maintain physical distancing of 2 metres from others
- Workers should also:
- self-monitor for symptoms
- stay in their place of residence as much as possible when not working
- and follow the instructions of their local public health authority if they feel sick
- Workers must notify key people if:
- they develop, at any time, symptoms such as cough, fever, or difficulty breathing
- or they believe they are exposed to someone who was sick with COVID-19
- This includes:
- airline staff and border agents if travelling
- their employer
- their roommates
- public health authorities if at their place of residence or workplace
- For more information on how to avoid the spread of COVID-19 after quarantining, please see Section 4 of the COVID-19: A Guide for Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada page
For employers required to provide housing, when do the physical distancing requirements apply?
- The requirement for employers to provide housing that ensures that workers remain 2 metres apart applies specifically during the mandatory quarantine period
- If a new person enters in the same accommodations where other workers have already begun quarantining, all of the workers will be required to re-start their mandatory quarantine period. The employer is required to pay the workers for the full duration of this extended quarantine period
- Workers are recommended to continue to practice physical distancing and good hygiene habits beyond the 2-week quarantine period, in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Employer-provided housing that enables this would support public health objectives
What guidance will be given to employers?
- Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is engaging with provincial governments to help ensure that employers have robust plans to safely quarantine and isolate workers before their arrival
- In addition to engagement with the provinces, ESDC is increasing its outreach and education efforts to employers on quarantine requirements and on best practices based on latest public health guidance
- ESDC is also communicating guidelines to employers and third party travel arrangers so they can support workers’ compliance and use of best practices
- The Guidance for employers of temporary foreign workers regarding COVID-19 page has additional information
Will workers receive health care coverage while they are in Canada, including for COVID-19 related issues?
- Temporary foreign workers should receive coverage equivalent to other residents of Canada. For workers in the low-wage and primary agriculture streams, including the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, if provincial/territorial health care is not provided from the first day the worker arrives in Canada, equivalent private health insurance must be provided by the employer until the worker becomes eligible for the provincial/territorial plan
- In the current context, some private insurers may no longer cover COVID-19 related issues. Some provinces are waiving typical waiting periods for provincial coverage. Existing employer obligations still apply
What happens if a worker becomes sick with COVID-19?
- If a worker becomes symptomatic at any time, the employer must immediately arrange for the worker to be fully isolated from others, and contact local public health officials
- If the worker becomes ill during the initial quarantine period, the worker is to be paid by the employer. If a worker must be in quarantine longer than the initial mandatory 14-Day isolation period because the worker became symptomatic or was exposed to another person who exhibits symptoms, or for any other reason, the worker is to be paid by the employer for the extended quarantine period (a minimum of 5 hours per day or 30 hours per work week)
- If, after the initial quarantine period, the worker is sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19, they may be entitled to either paid or unpaid sick leave, depending on their employment contract and the relevant federal, provincial or territorial employment standards. This could include new provisions in several jurisdictions for job-protected leave because of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19 may be eligible for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). If a worker is eligible for the CRSB, they can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period. If their situation continues past 1 week, they will need to apply again. They may apply up to a total of 4 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021
- Workers who are unable to work for medical reasons unrelated to COVID-19 may also be eligible for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits. In both cases, temporary foreign workers are subject to the same eligibility criteria as Canadians and permanent residents
Under what circumstances can a worker leave their quarantine location during their quarantine period?
- The Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations) permits workers to leave quarantine for medical emergencies or essential medical services or treatments. This includes if a worker is required to leave the quarantine location to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, as it could be considered an essential medical treatment that contributes to their safety as they work in Canada
What responsibilities does an employer have when a worker needs to leave their quarantine location during their quarantine period to receive a COVID-19 vaccination?
- The employer must ensure the following:
- There are no orders in place by any public health authorities, local, provincial or federal, that would prevent the worker(s) from leaving their place of quarantine
- Transportation to and from the location where the COVID-19 vaccination is being administered must be via a private vehicle. During transit to and from the location where the COVID-19 vaccination is being administered, infection prevention and control practices need apply, including masking and physical distancing
- Only those workers who arrived in Canada together and are in quarantine together are permitted in the same vehicle
- Workers must obtain medical documentation, such as a record of vaccination, to support their departure from quarantine for medical reasons
- Workers must immediately and directly return to their suitable place of quarantine after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination, and fully complete their quarantine period, including all testing required under the Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations Order. The worker must remain in quarantine until the end of the 14-day period that begins on the day they arrive in Canada and until they receive the results of the COVID-19 molecular test taken later in the quarantine period, and those results are negative
Is the Government of Canada playing a role in vaccinating migrant farmworkers on arrival?
- In Canada, COVID-19 vaccines are free and will be available to everyone who is recommended to get the vaccine by public health authorities. Vaccination is voluntary and a personal choice
- As temporary foreign workers fall under provincial/territorial jurisdiction for health care, provinces and territories will decide how they are sequenced in their respective vaccine roll out plans
- The Government of Canada is working with partner countries and provinces to ensure relevant information is provided for temporary foreign workers to make informed decisions
Compliance and inspections
What are the penalties to workers for not respecting quarantine requirements?
- With the exception of those deemed exempt by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada temporary foreign workers entering Canada are subject to the requirements of the Quarantine Act, which includes mandatory quarantine. Penalties of up to $750,000 can be levied against a temporary foreign worker who violates this Order
- A person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly contravening the Quarantine Act or associated regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or to imprisonment of up to 3 years, or to both
- Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, workers who are found to have failed to adhere to an isolation order could be found inadmissible, issued a removal order and barred from coming back to Canada for 1 year
How are deductions to be calculated for Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) workers during the quarantine period?
- During the quarantine period, a week consists of 6 working days, with a minimum of 5 hours per day, and one day of rest, which is the model to be used to calculate deductions for the SAWP workers
What are you doing to enforce employer compliance with health and safety requirements? What are the penalties for employer non-compliance?
- Employers have an important role to play in helping to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19
- Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations came into force April 20, 2020 and compel employers of temporary foreign workers to meet additional requirements, including:
- paying workers for the initial quarantine/isolation period upon entry into Canada
- not preventing a worker from meeting their requirements under orders made under the Quarantine Act and/or the Emergencies Act, as well as provincial/territorial public health laws related to COVID-19, and
- additional requirements for employers who provide accommodations to workers
- Employers are subject to inspection and those who do not comply with the requirements could be subject to penalties of up to $1 million and a ban from hiring foreign workers, depending on the seriousness of the situation and number of workers affected
What mechanisms are in place for reporting instances of non-compliance to government authorities?
- Individuals who observe suspected violations of the Quarantine Act on the part of anyone, including a quarantining worker, are asked to notify local law enforcement
- Individuals who observe a suspected contravention of the expectations of employers are asked to report through ESDC’s Online Fraud Reporting tool, a secure online process for submitting information that will be reviewed by program officers, and who will take action as appropriate
- Alternatively, individuals can call the toll-free Service Canada Confidential Tips Line at 1‑866‑602‑9448. These tools can also be used to report other incidents of non-compliance with program rules and requirements
How are inspections conducted during COVID-19?
- ESDC has the authority to inspect any employer when the department is made aware of a potential danger or that the safety of workers is at risk, including during the mandatory quarantine period. Service Canada will conduct quarantine inspections virtually via phone and video, however on-site inspections remain an important integrity mechanism available to Service Canada agents, particularly if there are egregious concerns or where information provided virtually is deemed insufficient
- For a quarantine inspection, the investigator will contact the employer, by phone and email, and provide the pertinent details about the inspection and documents required. Once requested, documents must be provided to the investigator within 48 hours
- Employers may be asked for a virtual tour of the employee’s accommodations. Interviews with employers and workers will be conducted by phone or video-conference. Investigators should be informed prior to the interviews if interpretation services are required
- When providing photos of accommodations during quarantine, Service Canada does not advocate or expect employers to enter the space occupied by the workers in quarantine. Photos can be taken from outside the structure and by workers when photos inside the accommodations are required. Service Canada recommends that employers take photos of the accommodations before the arrival of the workers
- The photos should clearly show that the accommodations are meeting the regulatory requirements. For example, if bunkbeds are used during quarantine, the photo must show that the beds are 2 metres apart and that only one bunk is being used
How does an employer send the required information to an Investigator about the inspection?
- For a quarantine inspection, the investigator will contact the employer, by phone and email, and provide the pertinent details about the inspection and documents required. Once requested, these documents must be provided within 48 hours
- Employers can send required documents/information by responding directly to the Investigator at their Service Canada email
- There are consequences for non-compliance, including consequences for not submitting required documents within the required time, or not cooperating with the inspection.
- Employers who do not comply with requirements could be subject to penalties. These include fines of up to $1 million and a permanent ban from hiring foreign workers, depending on the seriousness of the situation and number of workers affected
- Employers are encouraged to stay informed about their obligations in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Can an employer prevent a worker from leaving their housing or worksite?
- While the employer does have an obligation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to ensure that the worker’s quarantine is not impeded, workers are accountable for complying with quarantine requirements under the Quarantine Act
- Limiting a temporary foreign worker’s movement may be considered abuse under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and a violation of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s conditions. Examples may include:
- imposing policies or agreements, whether oral or written, coerced or mandated by the employer, that restrict a worker’s ability to leave their housing or work location (including situations where a worker may feel compelled to agree to and/or abide by a policy or request out of fear of reprisal)
- physically confining a worker to their housing or worksite without a legal authority (such as government or court issued order)
- The Temporary Foreign Worker Program does not provide employers with the right to limit the free movement of workers, such as movement off the property where temporary foreign workers live and/or work. Like all workers, temporary foreign workers are free to run errands, access services, and enjoy their time off work when not in quarantine, self-isolating, or otherwise restricted from doing so as per government laws and orders, such as those relating to states of emergency or public health
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