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New stronger penalties for those abusing foreign worker programs in Canada

EMPLOYMENT and Social Development Minister Pierre Poilievre on Monday 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.

Poilievre said: “The Harper Government will not tolerate any abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program. We are committed to protecting the Canadian labour market and economy as well as foreign workers. Employers who break the rules will face the full force of the law, including financial penalties up to $1 million and permanent bans from the programs.”

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said: “Our Government is committed to ensuring that Canadians are always considered first for available jobs. Both the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility Program are important avenues for international workers to come to Canada and gain experience in our labour market on a temporary basis. However, our Government is dedicated to providing all Canadians with the tools and opportunities they need to become part of the competitive global workforce. We will not allow for abuses of our generous foreign worker programs, and we will ensure that those employers who do not respect the rules face the consequences.”

Quick Facts

* Since 2013, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has conducted thousands of inspections to verify employer compliance with TFWP requirements.

* Since the launch of the Confidential Tip Line in April 2014 and the Online Fraud Reporting tool in June 2014, ESDC has received thousands of complaints of alleged violations of conditions of the TFWP.

* Since 2010, ESDC has revoked more than 400 Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs), in cases where employers had broken the rules of the TFWP. If the new consequences had been in force at that time, these employers would have likely been subject to a financial penalty and/or a ban from the programs.

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