New rules for temporary foreign workers take effect

13 new regulatory amendments cover rights, reprisals, health care, transparency

New rules for temporary foreign workers take effect

Employers tapping the services of temporary foreign workers must now provide these workers with information about their rights in Canada.

This is one of the 13 changes now in force thanks to changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Foreign Workers) to protect these workers.

“Everyone deserves to work in dignity, in safety, and in health. With these changes, our government is strengthening protections for temporary foreign workers,” says Carla Qualtrough, minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.

“These individuals come to Canada and work for Canadian businesses and help drive the Canadian economy forward. We have a responsibility to ensure they are protected and respected.”

Read more: Feds announce changes to TFW program

The new rules also prohibit reprisal by employers against workers, such as those who come forward with complaints, and prohibit employers from charging recruitment fees to workers and holding them accountable for the actions of recruiters in this regard.

Employers must also now provide reasonable access to health care services. Those using the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program are also required to provide private health insurance when needed.

Overall, these new regulations will ensure greater transparency and clarity around the requirements and conditions of the TFW program and International Mobility Program (IMP), according to the federal government. Employers will be more aware of their responsibilities and program rules, which will lead to better protection of workers and increased program compliance.

Employers who are found to be non-compliant with conditions for the TFW Program or the IMP are listed on a public-facing website.

Read more: Is there 'systemic slavery' in Canada?

“With these new regulations in place, the government of Canada is strengthening its ability to protect temporary foreign workers and is enhancing its capacity to prevent potential mistreatment or abuse during TFWs period of employment in Canada,” says Sean Fraser, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

The new measures also come into effect after an advocate called for a revamp of the system that governs migrant workers’ employment in Canada back in August.

“As it currently stands, the Seasonal Agriculture Workers Program is systemic slavery,” said Syed Hussan, executive director at Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

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