Minister Jason Kenney and Employment and Social Development Canada has just released a discussion paper on changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). This paper outlines new regulations on employer penalties that will be implemented later this fall. The public has until October 16 to submit comments on these new rules. We encourage everyone to tell the government what you think. You can submit your comments on their comments form. Canadians for an Inclusive Canada will be submitting comments which we will crosspost to this website. In the meantime, we have 5 key questions that need to be answered:
1. What will happen to temporary foreign workers (TFWs) who are found to be working in abusive workplaces, especially to those whose employers have been banned from hiring TFWs?
- The discussion paper mentions that banning employers from hiring TFWs will entail revoking current and future LMIAs and current work permits.
- Will TFWs working in these establishments be reassigned to another work place?
- If not, will they be given a ‘grace period’ to find another employer in Canada willing to hire and sponsor them? Or will they be asked to leave Canada?
2. What are the resources provided by CIC and ESDC for TFWs facing abusive situations? Is there a CIC/ESDC ‘hotline’ TFWs can call to respond to their concerns?
3. In what ways is Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada coordinating their efforts to protect TFWs with provincial labor standards and provincial bodies on immigration/migration?
4. How will the interests of live-in caregivers (LCs) be protected under your proposal? One of the provisions to protect TFWs that is outlined in the discussion paper is the existence of on-site visits and inspections. Since live-in caregivers work in private households, can these visits and inspections still take place?
- Live-in caregivers face different employment vulnerabilities compared to TFWs and those hired under the IMP. Unlike these groups, live-in caregivers are employed in Canadian families’ households and are oftentimes isolated. In fact, because live-in caregivers live and work in the ‘private sphere,’ we are concerned that the provisions you outline to protect TFWs’ interests are not applicable to live-in caregivers.
5. What will happen to LCs in the event that their employers are found to be abusive?
- Will they be placed with another Canadian family? Will they receive the opportunity to find another employer?
- What will happen to live-in caregivers with open work permits who are found to have been working for abusive employers?
- Will the amount of time they spent working for these employers still count towards their permanent residency applications or will their applications for permanent residency be compromised?