‘These important protections are long overdue and will ensure workers are not taken advantage of’
British Columbia employers looking to hire temporary foreign workers now have to register with the province before hiring.
The new requirement covers three federal programs: the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Home Child-Care Provider Pilot and the Home Support Worker Pilot. There is no fee for registering, and the process takes 20 minutes to complete, on average, according to the government.
With the new requirement – which takes effect Dec. 15, 2020 – the government wants to ensure fair working conditions for all workers in the province. Specifically, people from abroad who come to B.C. to work are paid for the hours they work, have a job description that matches the work they perform and ensures their rights and safety are protected while on the job.
“Our government is committed to ensuring that regardless of your immigration status, if you're working in B.C., your rights and protections are the same as any worker,” says Harry Bains, minister of labour. “These important protections for vulnerable workers in our province are long overdue and will ensure they are not taken advantage of.”
The registration requirement will allow the province to identify which employers hire temporary foreign workers and will enable inspection of those employers and enforcement of provincial law. Until now, there has not been a system that registers and certifies employers that hire workers from other countries, says the government.
When in force, an estimated 5,000 employers are anticipated to require an employer’s certificate of registration to hire temporary foreign workers in B.C., according to the government.
“Temporary foreign workers are integral to our agricultural sector and B.C. relies on them for important jobs like harvesting the crops we depend on for our daily meals and to build our province’s food security,” says Lana Popham, minister of agriculture. “The new registration requirement for employers will help ensure foreign workers are fairly treated.”
B.C.’s move is the final step in implementing the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act, passed in 2018. Last year, B.C. established a licensing requirement for recruiters of foreign workers and launched the recruiter registry.
With this new process, B.C. joins Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, which all have the same registration processes.
Previously, the federal government has announced a new temporary policy that will allow temporary foreign workers to work in a new job while their work permit application is being fully processed.
In April, the federal government invested $50 million to help employers cover the costs of quarantine for temporary foreign workers coming into Canada required to self-isolate for 14 days because of the COVID-19 pandemic.