While temporary foreign workers have the same workplace protections and rights as Canadians and permanent residents under applicable federal, provincial and territorial legislation, factors such as their temporary status and their limited access to information on their rights make them more vulnerable to potential exploitation and abuse, according to a recent article in the Canada Gazette.

The proposed amendments will address existing gaps in worker protections and strengthen program integrity by enhancing the employer compliance regimes. Some of the proposed amendments expand existing program policies. Overall, the regulatory amendments are expected to improve worker and employer awareness and to provide stronger worker protection, resulting in greater employer compliance, according to a recent article in the Canada Gazette.

Among the proposed changes to the program are that employers will be required to provide temporary foreign workers with written documentation outlining their rights as well as provide an employment agreement.

Employers also would be prohibited from charging or recovering fees for the provision of services in relation to a Labour Market Impact Assessment, which employers seeking to hire through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

must complete. Employer compliance fees and recruitment fees also cannot be charged to the workers, and employers would have to ensure that any recruiters they use do not charge these fees as well.

The proposal would also mandate that employers in the TFWP obtain and pay for private health insurance that covers the fees of emergency medical care for their workers, if the worker is not already covered. In addition, the proposed amendments would expand the definition of “abuse” to include reprisal against a temporary foreign worker and prohibit employers from charging or recovering recruitment fees.

Read more details about the proposed changes and the impact in the Canada Gazette.