New Brunswick introduces changes to Employment Standards Act

Changes designed to better protect foreign workers in province

The New Brunswick government announced amendments to the provincial Employment Standards Act Tuesday, designed to offer better protection for foreign workers.

The changes will include the creation of an employer registry, which will facilitate better communication about the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees.

Changes will also include new provisions to ensure employers only recover allowable recruitment and transportation costs from the foreign workers themselves.

The amendments clarify legal procedures around foreign worker housing and personal documents such as passports and work permits.

"In the 2012 speech from the throne, our government recognized foreign workers as a vulnerable group of employees and promised to develop new worker recruitment and protection rules," said Jody Carr, minister of post-secondary education, training and labour. "The changes we are proposing today mark an important step in fulfilling this commitment."

The amendments also add two new unpaid leave provisions to protect job security and protect employees who require a leave of absence to care for a critically ill or injured child or cope with the death or disappearance of a child.

A separate amendment that would change directors’ liability provisions was introduced last spring, but has not yet been proclaimed.

Those changes will require a corporation to be pursued first, but allow for for-profit directions to potentially become liable for specific wages and/or vacation pay after 30 days notice of personal liability.

The amendments will provide a reasonable diligence defence to for-profit corporate directors and ensure they cannot be held liable for administrative penalties against a corporation.

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