New Penalties for Canada Temporary Worker Violations to Start in December

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The government of Canada has imposed potentially tougher penalties for employers who violate the revised rules on admitting and processing temporary workers into the country.

This comes after the old policy received much media attention and public scrutiny that prompted an overhaul by the authorities.

The admission of temporary worker comes in two versions: the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) which allows employers to hire foreign workers after receiving approved Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and International Mobility Programs (IMP) which does not require LMIA.

The more stringent LMIA policies have replaced the old system of labour market opinions. In the new system, employers must specify the number of Canadians that applied for a given job vacancy and number of its citizens who were interviewed for such position. In addition, employers need to explain why interviewed Canadian applicants were unsuccessful in their applications.

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Moreover, employers may hire TFWP workers are those that employ 10 or more workers may not have foreign imported workers in 10% of its workforce, subject to certain conditions.

Starting December 1, 2015 a new set of penalties are in place to employers who fail to comply with the new TFWP and IMP requirements. They include:

  • formal warnings;
  • fines ranging from $500 to $100,000 per violation, up to a maximum of $1 million over one year, per employer;
  • being banned from accessing the programs for one, two, five, or ten years or permanently; and
  • publication of the employer’s name on a public list with details of the violation(s) and sanction(s).

The discretion in applying this broad range of available penalties will be guided in part by:

  • the type of violation;
  • an employer’s compliance history;
  • the severity of non-compliance; and
  • the size of the employer’s business (for financial penalties only).

Reduced penalties may apply to employers who report non-compliance on a voluntary basis.

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The new labor regulations will be jointly implemented by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

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