According to the report, 94% of the 2,100 employers surveyed were found to be in compliance. The remaining 6% who were non-compliant are now listed on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
The ESDC ensures employers hiring Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) are compliant with Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) regulations.
Out of 116 non-compliant employers, 93 faced fines, 23 got warnings, and seven are banned, some up to five years. Notably, two transport sector employers received $100,000+ fines for wage and safety violations, while a construction company got a $53,000 fine.
New 2022 regulations empower the TFWP, enabling better inspections and accountability. ESDC will now update TFWP compliance efforts semi-annually, aiding job seekers in identifying reputable employers.
What is Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)?
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers when local labor isn’t sufficient to meet their needs.
To hire TFWs, employers need a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). This document assesses the economic impact of hiring a foreign worker.
TFWs work under closed permits, which means they are limited to working for one specific employer in Canada. This restriction is in place to prevent exploitation and ensure their fair treatment.
Essential Compliance Rules for Employers
Wage and Working Conditions
- Wage Scales: Employers must pay TFWs according to specific wage scales. There are low-wage and high-wage scales, depending on the job and province.
- Safe Working Conditions: Employers are required to provide safe working conditions to TFWs. This includes adhering to safety regulations and guidelines.
- Accommodation: Employers should ensure that appropriate accommodation is available for TFWs, making sure they have a safe and comfortable place to live.
- Health Protocols: Especially in the context of COVID-19, employers must follow health protocols to protect the well-being of TFWs.
- Positive or Neutral Impact: For an LMIA to be approved, ESDC needs to determine that hiring a TFW will have either a neutral or positive impact on Canada’s economy.
- High-Wage Positions: Employers hiring for high-wage positions must demonstrate efforts to train Canadian citizens to fill the labor gap that necessitated a TFW.
Alternatively, they can show how they intend to help the TFW become a permanent resident. Employers who are hiring for a low-wage position must meet the following conditions:
- pay for round-trip transportation for the temporary foreign worker;
- ensure affordable housing is available;
- pay for private health insurance until workers are eligible for provincial health coverage;
- register the temporary foreign worker with the provincial/territorial workplace safety board; and
- provide an employer-employee contract.
Recent Changes and Caps
In 2022, new regulations were introduced to strengthen the TFWP’s ability to conduct inspections and improve overall compliance. This ensures a fair and ethical hiring process.
Caps on Low-Wage TFWs:
To reduce reliance on TFWs, the Government of Canada has set limits on the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that a business can employ.
For instance, businesses with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA are subject to a cap of 10 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers.
Certain low-wage occupations may be refused for LMIA processing to further encourage hiring from the local workforce.
Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) Program
The Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) program was introduced to reward employers with a history of compliance with TFWP rules and regulations.
Longer LMIA Validity:
REP participants enjoy the benefit of a 36-month valid LMIA, reducing administrative work and providing stability in hiring TFWs.
Simplified Application Process:
The REP program streamlines the application process for future LMIA applications, making it easier for employers to hire additional TFWs for genuine job offers.
Employers in the REP program receive a Job Bank designation that showcases their recognized status, making them more appealing to prospective foreign workers.