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    Jason is an associate in the firm’s Labour, Employment and Human Rights group. Jason advises and represents clients on a variety of labour and employment issues, including grievance arbitrations and mediations, human rights ...

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.


Last week we posted, “Changes to Labour Relations Code Proposed in New Report” where we outlined some notable recommendations in the panel’s report for amendments to the provincial labour relations code.

This post serves as a reminder to federally-regulated employers of upcoming amendments to the Canada Labour Code (“Code). 

These amendments include:


    A Manitoban plaintiff has filed a class action lawsuit against the homegrown delivery service company, Skip the Dishes, reviving the debate over whether contractors for online services are truly independent contractors or are actually employees entitled to protection under employment standards legislation. Skip the Dishes operates an Uber-style online service that ...


    For the first time in over two decades, an independent review of the Employment Standards Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 113 (the "Act"), is underway.  The review is being conducted by the British Columbia Law Institute's Employment Standards Act Reform Project (the "Project").  The Ministry of Labour is a participant observer in the Project.  Given the ministry's involvement, it is ...


    While ongoing discussions of harassment have mainly been situated in the human rights register (see our own series of posts on our Labour and Employment Law Blog), employers should also be aware of possible liability in the civil context.  Tort law allows complainants to sue for damages for harm visited upon them by another.  Traditional torts that might apply in a case of ...


    A recent decision of the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner ("OIPC") addresses the scope of information that an unsuccessful job applicant may be able to access pursuant to privacy legislation.  The decision stems from an information request by a number of job applicants for access to records pertaining to their applications to work for Compass Group Canada ...

    Tags: OIPC, PIPA

    In a pair of recent decisions originating from British Columbia, the Supreme Court of Canada appears to be putting employers on notice that their responsibilities and liabilities may extend beyond their own front door.

    In December 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal v. Schrenk (2017 SCC 62), that we discussed in ...


    Does your business or organization offer goods and services overseas? Or otherwise collect or use personal information of Europeans? If so, you may find yourself unwittingly caught by Europe's new privacy regulations.

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the European Union's (EU) new privacy law and it came into force on May 25, 2018. The GDPR applies not only ...


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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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