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Employers of foreign workers face workplace inspections




Nicholas Keung


The Star

Buong Teksto

Canadian employers who hire foreign workers will face surprise on-site inspections by authorities to ensure that the need for them is genuine and that Canadian workers are not passed over for the job.

Under proposed regulatory changes unveiled Friday, federal officials would monitor employer compliance not only at the time of the applications to bring in migrant workers but throughout the employment period.

“(Officials) would have the authority, for the purpose of verifying compliance with the imposed conditions, to require an employer to provide documents and to report at any specified time and place in order to answer questions and provide documents,” said the plan.

“Citizenship and Immigration Canada officers and the Minister responsible for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada would also have the authority to enter and inspect any premises or place in which a temporary foreign worker performs work.”

The changes were proposed following the recent public uproar over the Royal Bank’s use of foreign IT workers in place of Canadian employees and the importing of Chinese miners by HD Mining International at a coal mine development in northern British Columbia.

According to the plan, inspectors would monitor whether employers provide substantially the same wages, working conditions or occupation as those stated in their employment offers to foreign nationals.

Inspections could be conducted from the first day of employment of the foreign workers up until six years after the last day of that employment.

Employers found to be non-compliant with any of the conditions would be placed on a public ineligibility list, barring them from accessing the temporary foreign worker program for two years. Job offers from any such non-compliant employers would not be valid for immigration applications.

The proposed changes also require employers to ensure “the employment of the foreign national will result in direct job creation or job retention for Canadian citizens or permanent residents” and “the development or transfer of skills and knowledge” for the benefit of Canada.

In 2011, 55,501 employers applied for a labour market opinion assessment to bring in foreign workers; 42,760 were approved. An estimated 59,769 employers are expected to apply in 2014 and 46,048 would likely be granted, the proposal said.


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