New penalties introduced for abuse of foreign worker programs

Employers face fines of up to $1 million, permanent bans

Employment and Social Development Canada recently announced new penalties for employers who abuse the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).

Moving forward, employers who are non-compliant with program conditions could be subject to financial penalties ranging from $500 to $100,000 per violation. A maximum of $1 million in financial penalties could be meted out in a one-year period.

Additionally, the existing two-year ban from the programs will be replaced with bans of various lengths, including periods of one, two, five and 10 years.

The most serious of violations could result in employers facing permanent bans.

The new consequences will come into force on Dec. 1, 2015. The federal government initially announced the program changes in June 2014.

According to Employment and Social Development Canada, these new consequences will encourage compliance by ensuring the misuse of the programs or the mistreatment of workers will be met with appropriate consequences.

“We are committed to protecting the Canadian labour market and economy as well as foreign workers,” said Pierre Poilievre, minister of Employment and Social Development.

“Employers who break the rules will face the full force of the law.”

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