Stiff new penalties for those who abuse foreign worker programs



The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, today announced stiff new consequences for employers who break the rules of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). The Government initially announced that penalties would be enhanced for employers that break the rules of the programs in June 2014.
Employers who are found non-compliant with program conditions could be subject to financial penalties ranging from $500 to $100,000 per violation, and up to $1 million in a one-year period. In addition, the existing two-year ban from the programs will be replaced with bans of various lengths – including one, two, five and ten years. Employers could face a permanent ban for the most serious violations.
The new consequences will encourage compliance and help prevent employers from misusing the programs or mistreating workers by ensuring that employers who violate program conditions face appropriate consequences. When compliance is not achieved, these new consequences will match the abuse. The new consequences, announced in June, are part of program changes made in June 2014 and will come into force on December 1, 2015.
Currently there are thousands of foreign workers across the country, a large number of them are being over-worked, underpaid and exploited.
Many immigration lawyers believe that the immigration system has effectively been handed over to business, the current system allows for unscrupulous employers to exploit immigrant workers.
TFWP recruits leave their home countries not knowing what to expect and nobody tells them basics when they arrive; for instance that they are covered by the Employment Standards Act. They are often anxious to change their status from temporary to permanent residents and for this reason they often willfully allow themselves to be exploited in the hope that their employer can help them secure a foothold in the country.

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