IRCC sets new wage rules for employers recruiting temporary foreign workers
From January 1, 2024, employers recruiting through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) must adjust foreign workers’ wages to match updated prevailing rates, as per Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Although some employers are exempt, this usually requires a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The Job Bank updates provincial wage differences annually.
Canada is inviting foreign workers to boost its economy amid labor shortages, with potential losses of $38 billion due to shortages, as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reported. Foreign workers in Canada are legally entitled to the same rights as Canadians, with employers required to ensure a fair work environment and access to healthcare.
Even if the prevailing wage falls, the updated wage can never fall below the wage identified in the positive LMIA at any time during a TFW’s employment period. Employers who fail to update wages on time may face sanctions under the TFW Program’s employer compliance regime, which includes administrative monetary penalties and program bans.
Job duties and working conditions for the Temporary Foreign Workers
TFWs hired through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) must only perform duties related to the occupation for which they were hired. All workers in Canada, including TFWs, are protected by Canadian law. Exploitation of TFWs is a violation of Canadian laws and human rights. Employers must do the following:
- TFWs should be paid for all work (including overtime if required by law).
- Insurance for workplace safety is provided.
- offer TFWs the same benefits as other workers, and
- not take the TFWs’ identification.
Most occupations are covered by provincial or territorial legislation dealing with labor and employment standards, such as:
- Working hours,
- working conditions, and
- termination of employment are all factors to consider.
In fact, every province or territory has a Ministry of Labour that can provide information to help employers and TFWs with work-related questions or issues.
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