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    Deborah practises labour and employment law, advising clients on a range of matters including wrongful dismissal, employment standards, business immigration, labour relations, and human rights issues.

    Deborah attended law ...

On November 8, 2018, British Columbia's government passed Bill 48, the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act (the "Act")While the measures included in the Act will not come into effect until the government issues additional regulations next year, employers that rely on temporary foreign workers may want to familiarize themselves with their forthcoming legal responsibilities.

The Act establishes a registry for recruiters and employers of temporary foreign workers.  Enrollment requires that foreign worker recruiters be individually licensed.  Similarly, employers of temporary foreign workers will be required to be certified before recruiting the services of a temporary foreign worker.  The exact process by which recruiters and employers will apply and be licensed or certified has yet to be defined.

The Act is designed to provide oversight of the actions of recruiters and employers of temporary foreign workers. The Act gives the Director of Employment Standards (the "Director") the power to make inquiries into and conduct investigations of the character, financial history and competence of applicants for registration.

The Director may refuse to register individual recruiters or employers based on a determination that the applicant is not acting or will not act with integrity, honesty or in the public interest, or otherwise in accordance with the law.  In assessing the actions and past conduct of an employer, the Director is empowered to assess whether the employer has failed to comply with relevant employment legislation, such as the Employment Standards Act and the Workers Compensation Act, or the terms of its federal application for retaining temporary foreign workers.

Certificates issued to employers under the Act will be valid for up to 3 years, at which point the employer must reapply.  During the course of certification, the Director retains the power to suspend, cancel, or amend the terms of the certificate.

In addition to establishing a licencing and registration scheme, the Act attempts to regulate the conduct of recruiters and employees.  Section 20 prohibits recruiters and employers from

  • producing or distributing false or misleading information relating to recruitment services, immigration, immigration services, employment, housing for foreign workers or the laws of British Columbia or Canada;
  • taking possession of or retaining a foreign national's passport or other official documents;
  • misrepresenting employment opportunities, including respecting a position, duties, length of employment, wages and benefits or other terms of employment;
  • threatening deportation or other action for which there is no lawful cause; and,
  • taking action against or threatening to take action against a person for participating in an investigation or proceeding by any government or law enforcement agency or for making a complaint or inquiry to any government or law enforcement agency.

The Act will also prohibit recruiters and employers from directly or indirectly charging temporary foreign workers fees or expenses in connection with recruitment services.

The Act empowers the Director to make and enforce a variety of orders in a manner similar to that provided in the Employment Standards Act. Orders may include directions that an individual comply with the Act, compensate a person for a fee charged in contravention of the Act, or pay a monetary penalty in accordance with the (yet to be released) regulations. The Director is permitted to enforce orders through the courts and to order the seizure of assets of individuals or businesses to satisfy any outstanding amounts.

The Act also gives the Director the power to publish identifying information about persons who have contravened the Act.

Employers that employ temporary foreign workers may wish to speak with legal counsel about the potential impact the Act will have on the recruitment of such workers.

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On November 1, 2018, the British Columbia Government tabled Bill 50, Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2018.  The Bill would amend the Human Rights Code to reflect the recommendations contained in the December 2017 report of the Parliamentary Secretary of Sport and Multiculturalism, “A Human Rights Commission for the 21st Century: British Columbians Talk About Human ...

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Much attention has been given to workplace policies and procedures regarding the use of cannabis by employees following the legalisation of the recreational use of cannabis in Canada effective October 17, 2018. Employers should also consider the impact of the change in Canadian law for employees who travel outside of Canada. Legalisation of cannabis in Canada does not ...

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Last week, we posted about the usefulness of probationary periods, both for unionized and non-unionized workers.

In each Canadian jurisdiction, there are rules under employment standards legislation regarding the period of employment during which a non-unionized employee can be dismissed without cause and without notice or pay in lieu of notice. If the probationary ...

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On the evening of June 18, 2018, the Senate passed Bill C-45, an Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Control Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (the “Act”), as amended. The Bill still needs to receive Royal Assent. Prime Minister Trudeau announced today that the legislation will take effect on October 17, 2018.

Under the Bill’s transitional ...

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On June 7, 2017, Bill 17, the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act, received Royal Assent. The Act makes significant amendments to the Alberta Employment Standards Code (the “ESC”) and Labour Relations Code (the “LRC”).  The changes will affect all provincially-regulated employers in the Province of Alberta, both unionized and non-unionized. A summary of ...

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Employers frequently ask us whether they are allowed to suspend an employee, and, if they do so, whether there is a risk that the employee may sue for constructive dismissal. In a Supreme Court of Canada judgment released on Friday, the main issue was, in what circumstances may a non-unionized employee who is suspended indefinitely with pay claim to have been constructively ...

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Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced significant reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”). The TFWP is being reorganized into two streams: the TFWP administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) and the International Mobility Program administered by Citizenship and ...

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Earlier this year the federal government made changes to Canada’s temporary foreign worker program with the stated purpose of ensuring that Canadians are given the first opportunity to apply for available jobs. Most temporary foreign workers require a work permit to legally work in Canada. In many instances, the employer must first obtain a positive Labour Market ...

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Effective July 31, 2013 the Federal Government announced new rules relating to the temporary foreign worker program. It has advised that the changes are being made to ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs. The changes include the following:

1.    Employers must now pay a processing fee for a Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) of $275 for each ...

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Lawson Lundell's Labour and Employment Law Blog provides updates on the most recent legal developments impacting the Canadian workplace and offers practical tips for employers. We cover a range of topics, including labour relations, employment law, collective bargaining, human rights, employment standards, employment equity, workers' compensation, business immigration, privacy, occupational health and safety and pensions and employee benefits. 

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