It is a fact that in Canada, temporary foreign workers work on employer-specific permits, and workers can work only for specific employers. For changing jobs, they require a new Work Permit. It can give rise to workplace-related abuse. To take care of such type of situations, some changes made in the IRPR (Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations). According to the changes made, the authority has been given to IRPR to issue a new Open Work Permits to temporary foreign, who are at greater risk or already experiencing abuse in their workplace.
More about Open Work Permits for Vulnerable Workers:
To apply for such permits of the IRPR, it is essential that the temporary foreign workers meet the following three requirements:
- The temporary foreign worker needs to be present in Canada;
- The temporary foreign worker is either already experiencing mistreatment or is at higher risk of experiencing abuse in the circumstance of the current employment, as mentioned in IRPR’s section 196.2.
- The temporary foreign worker needs to submit a Work Permit extension request for the same company or have an applicable employer-specific Work Permit. If the temporary foreign worker has lost status, then he or she is prohibited from applying (IRPR section 182).
It is essential that the temporary foreign worker can give evidence of the abuse or about the broader circumstances in which the person finds him or herself. In case of rational grounds of being at higher risk of abuse or already experiencing abuse, the IRCC will be issuing an Open Work Permit valid for 12 months to the concerned person, as well as to his or her spouse in Canada.
What Must All Employers know?
It is essential that the employers hiring temporary foreign workers make practical efforts for ensuring that the workplace is free of abuse. It includes the various forms of abuse varying from financial, physical, psychological, or sexual, abuse. Failure to do so will be considered as the immigration laws non-compliance. The consequences in such circumstances can lead to financial penalties or/and being prohibited from employing temporary foreign workers in the coming years.
The employers need to come up with suitable mechanisms, policies, and procedure to address situation related to workplace abuse. It will include complaint policies, protocols, dispute resolution mechanisms, investigation an employee representative, anonymous hotlines, employee counseling, and much more.