Nova Scotia moves to protect foreign workers

Proposed legislation targets recruitment, unfair treatment
||Last Updated: 05/04/2011

Nova Scotia has introduced legislation designed to improve protection for temporary foreign workers, especially recruitment and unfair treatment, according to the provincial government.

Formal consultations last year confirmed reports of recruiters charging high fees and workers arriving to find employment conditions and compensation had changed from the original offer.

"These are some of the most vulnerable workers in our province," said Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Marilyn More. "These amendments will help better protect those who come to work in Nova Scotia from other countries. They play an important role in the ongoing growth and success of our economy."

While temporary foreign workers are covered by occupational health and safety regulations and labour standards, the new legislation will better protect them from being exploited, said the government.

The amendments will:

•update the provision that prohibits charging fees to workers for job placement services and create ways to recover any fees charged
•require federal government approval before changes to conditions of employment
•require recruiters of temporary foreign workers obtain a licence from the province's director of labour standards
•require employers who want to recruit temporary foreign workers to register with Access Nova Scotia.

"As part of our new immigration strategy, we will speed up the approval process for temporary foreign workers in certain circumstances," said More. "At the same time, we will protect and support these workers so that our province is more attractive as a place they can consider staying and building a life."

In addition to the legislation, $100,000 will be available to fund a pilot project for a community organization to act as an advocate and navigator for temporary international workers.

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