Employers that break the rules of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program face stiff new consequences, announced Canada’s Minister of Employment and Social Development Pierre Poilievre.
The announcement follows claims by Quebec Labor Minister Sam Hamad that his federal counterpart agreed to talks aimed at easing frustration from some businesses that said the program was excessively burdensome, which Poilievre quickly denied .
Employers found to be non-compliant face financial penalties ranging from $500 to $100,000 per violation, and up to $1 million in a one-year period. In addition, the existing two-year ban from the program will be replaced with bans of various lengths — including one, two, five and 10 years. The most serious violations could lead to a permanent ban.
The new consequences, are part of program changes made in June 2014  and will come into force on Dec. 1, 2015.
Canada stuck with its plans despite pushback from businesses and foreign temp workers. In March, a report noted businesses in the Western Provinces stood to be hurt worst  by the program’s stringent rules. And many workers facing deportation in April due to the program’s four-year limit on foreign workers had hoped for a reprieve .
But the government stood firm. “Employers have had four years to find alternative employees. Similarly, temporary foreign workers have had four years to pursue pathways to permanent residence,” Poilievre and Chris Alexander, minister of citizenship and immigration, said in a statement at the time.
“The Harper government will not tolerate any abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program,” said Poilievre. “We are committed to protecting the Canadian labor market and economy as well as foreign workers. Employers who break the rules will face the full force of the law, including financial penalties up to $1 million and permanent bans from the programs.”
“Our government is committed to ensuring that Canadians are always considered first for available jobs,” said Alexander. “Both the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility Program are important avenues for international workers to come to Canada and gain experience in our labor market on a temporary basis. However, our government is dedicated to providing all Canadians with the tools and opportunities they need to become part of the competitive global workforce. We will not allow for abuses of our generous foreign worker programs, and we will ensure that those employers who do not respect the rules face the consequences.”