With rising cases of abuse on temporary foreign workers, in Canada, reported over government help lines, the government has stepped in to change its protection policies for the group and introduced relevant amendments for the same.
Marco Mendicino, Minister of immigration stated that the Canadian government considered the “safety and dignity” of its foreign temporary workers seriously. With related amendments being made, the time might have finally come for temporary workers to feel empowered.
What’s in Store for Temporary Foreign Workers Now?
Starting March 2021, a support helpline was put in place for such workers so that there could be abuse report as well as reaching out for assistance. Live agents have been appointed in these niches, who offer services in 200 plus languages. This step respects the diversity of foreign temporary workers in Canada.
Ottawa, a popular Canadian province has introduced 14 amendments to Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations for its temporary foreign workers.
Employers of such working groups will need to offer-
- Clarity on information about temporary worker rights across Canada
- Accessibility to healthcare plans
- Health insurance and medical assistance
Employers are disallowed from –
- Making reprisals on workers who make any complaint
- Charging fees for recruitment to any temporary foreign worker
- Denying responsibility of actions of any recruiter providing temporary foreign workers
The Ottawa government is also looking into how employers hire and use services of temporary foreign workers. Relevant inspectors for this purpose, have been given rights to access third party electronic records of employers too.
Influx of Foreign Workers continues
Canada sees close to 60,000 foreign workers, especially in the agricultural sector. This year alone, despite the raging pandemic, Canada has seen more than 41,000 temporary agricultural workers come in. Most of these workers work around farms in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.
Temporary workers in Canada fall under the broad categories of Temporary Foreign Worker program and the international mobility Program. The primary difference between the two programs is that the the latter requires Labor Market Impact Assessment or LMIA, while the latter does not. With this form, a Canadian employer states that such temporary workers are being hired because he was unable to find the right Canadian for the job at hand.
The Current Scenario needed Change
The point to note is that temporary foreign workers are generally not versed with local rights and fall behind on understanding if there have been non-compliance on part of the employer. Some employees do not even feel motivated to report issues at work, fearing backlash from employers. With such a scenario dominating this stratum for years, the need to include the above-discussed amendments had become even more necessary.
Some News to cheer
With these amendments for temporary foreign workers, the latter can access agreements wherein clear mention would be made of wages, profile and work conditions. The employer will now have to ensure abuse-free working ethics and culture. Such changes now empower the department of Employment and Social Development Canada to pause LMIA processing for an employer, if any charges are found to be true.
A Way forward
The government understands the enhanced business costs that could arise, with these changes. Then again, the authorities have ensured minimal outlays. Ultimately, the administration aims to further economic recovery of the country while ensuring better security for temporary foreign workers.