Compliance inspections for Employers of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program during the COVID-19 pandemic

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New regulations in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

New regulations were introduced to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) to Parliament on April 11, 2020, and came into force on April 20, 2020. For employers, this means they have a specific responsibility in helping to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19.

Service Canada has the authority under the IRPR to conduct an inspection, with or without prior notice, in order to verify your compliance with the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program, including within the first 14 days of the temporary foreign worker’s arrival.

In addition to these changes, it remains the employer’s responsibility to ensure they are complying with the conditions attached to their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and the IRPR.

New timelines

Given the seriousness and urgency of the COVID-19 epidemic, the service standards have been revised to ensure these new regulation amendments are applied to the inspections related to COVID-19 requirements:

All Service Canada employer inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic will be conducted virtually/remotely. When requested, information must be submitted electronically which will help employers meet these tight timelines.

Initiating an inspection

An inspection may be initiated using one of the following methods:

Pre-inspection

All employers must:

If the employer provides accommodations, they must also ensure that:

At any time, throughout the period of employment, the employer must ensure that:

During an inspection

All Service Canada employer inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic will be conducted virtually/remotely.

Employers will be contacted by phone and email once they are selected for an inspection. They must co-operate with requests by investigators in a timely manner. This includes providing all relevant documents for examination electronically. Failure to do so may result in penalties.

Employers will be asked to provide one or more of the following:

Employers may also be asked for a virtual tour of the accommodations and/or facilities.

Some workers will also be contacted to verify these requirements. These interviews may be conducted by phone or video conference.

Any information containing personal information, such as Social Insurance Numbers, banking information, or medical information, must be redacted, prior to sending to the Investigator. This does not include names or contact information.

Responding to Service Canada investigators

Employers must send the requested information to the Service Canada Investigator within 48 hours. Failure to do so can result in a non-compliance penalty.

The documents can be sent electronically using one of the following 2 methods:

Find more information about how to set up an LMIA Online account

Discovery of illness or non-compliance

During an investigation, if an illness related to COVID-19 is detected, Service Canada Investigators will immediately report this information to local public health officials who will take action as necessary.

Service Canada will continue its investigation and impose sanctions should the employer be found to be non-compliant of the elements outlined in the regulations.

Penalties for non-compliance

Changes have also been made to existing administrative monetary penalties framework, to reflect the seriousness with which Government takes disregard of requirements of orders made under the Quarantine Act and/or the Emergencies Act

Employers found non-compliant as a result of an inspection, could be subject to:

All Notices of Preliminary Findings and Notices of Final Determinations will be sent to the employer by e-mail and registered mail.

Employers have the right to judicial review should they not agree with the final decision.

More information

As the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve, please consult TFW Program compliance regularly for the latest information.

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