September 26, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
The Government of Canada takes its responsibilities to protect temporary foreign workers (TFWs) very seriously. Ensuring the health and safety of these workers while they are in Canada is a key priority, and the Government is taking concrete action to better support them.
Today, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Sean Fraser announced that new amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Foreign Workers) are now in force. These 13 new regulatory amendments include measures to strengthen protections for TFWs and will enhance the integrity of the TFW Program and the International Mobility Program (IMP), administered by IRCC.
The new regulations will better protect TFWs and help to prevent mistreatment and abuse during their stay in Canada by:
- mandating that employers provide all TFWs with information about their rights in Canada;
- prohibiting reprisal by employers against workers, for instance against those who come forward with complaints; and,
- prohibiting employers from charging recruitment fees to workers and holding them accountable for the actions of recruiters in this regard.
In addition, employers are now required to provide reasonable access to health care services. Employers using the TFW Program, are also required to provide private health insurance when needed.
These regulations will deter bad actors from participating in the program, and will improve the program’s ability to conduct inspections and administer appropriate consequences for those who do not follow the rules. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) can also suspend the processing of any new Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) if there is reason to suspect that an employer’s non-compliance with the new conditions would put a foreign worker’s health or safety at serious risk.
Overall, these new regulations will ensure greater transparency and clarity on the requirements and conditions of the TFW Program and IMP. Employers will be more aware of their responsibilities and program rules, which will lead to better protection of workers and increased program compliance.
These measures complement other worker protection initiatives already underway. For example, in July 2022, Minister Qualtrough convened the inaugural TFW Program Ministerial Consultative Roundtable. This meeting focused on accommodations and was the first of several meetings expected to take place over the next three years to seek input directly from stakeholders on how to make the TFW Program stronger and more effective for workers, employers and their communities.
ESDC also continues to improve the TFW compliance regime while implementing improvements to help better protect TFWs, including:
- enhancing inspection tools and mandatory training to strengthen the quality and timeliness of inspections;
- continuing to leverage an enhanced tip line service including live agents, allowing workers to flag any situation of abuse or misuse of the program in a confidential manner;
- continuing to raise employers’ awareness of their obligations to foster compliance with the TFW Program’s conditions; and,
- expanding collaboration with consulates, as well as provinces and local authorities, to help the Department to identify concerns that need immediate attention and take action.