Canada – Immigration Alerts

New Penalties for Employers who are Non-Compliant with Canada’s Temporary Work Permit Programs

What has changed

The Government of Canada has proposed new Regulations which will considerably increase the liabilities and penalties faced by employers who employ foreign nationals under Canada’s temporary work permit programs (including both Labor Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) and LMIA-exempt categories).  The proposed Regulations are scheduled to take effect December 1, 2015.

Under current laws and regulations, non-compliant employers are not liable for any monetary fines or penalties.  Employers are currently only liable to have existing Work Permits revoked, face a two (2) year program ban, and be placed on a publicly available list of ineligible employers.

Who  is affected?
What to expect

  • Employers of Temporary Foreign Workers

Employers of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) will continue to be subject to the possibility of an audit or inspection by government authorities to verify compliance with the conditions of Canada’s temporary work permit programs. This includes verifying that the receipt of wages and working conditions are substantially the same as those set out in the job offer that supported the initial Work Permit application, and compliance with federal and provincial laws regulating employment are being met.

Employers who are found to be non-compliant will:

  • Potentially be subject to Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) or fines, which will be assessed according to the severity of the infraction and the size of the business.
  • Face potential program bans ranging from two (2) years to permanent bars.
  • Continue to be placed on a publicly available list of ineligible employers.

Importantly, under the new regulatory regime, penalties will be assessed according to the number of TFWs who are affected by each infraction.  Each infraction that affects each TFW will be treated as a separate violation potentially leading to cumulative fines of several thousand dollars for larger employers.  AMPs will be capped at a maximum of $1 million (Canadian dollars) per twelve (12) month period.

Employers who are in default of payments for any assessed fines will not be eligible for any temporary work permit programs until the fines are paid.

Employers may also face program bans of two (2), five (5) or ten (10) years for serious and/or repeat infractions.  The most serious infractions could lead to a permanent ban from either or both programs.

What you need to do
Planning ahead 

  • The new Regulations also provide incentives for employers who voluntarily disclose violations.  Such employers may be issued warning letters, and be exempt from any further penalties provided the disclosed violations are rectified.
  • Emigra Worldwide has extensive expertise on compliance requirements with Canada’a temporary work permit programs, and can advise on the potential liability your company may face with the implementation of these new regulations. Please do not hesitate to contact Emigra Worldwide for more information on how we may be able to assist.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

New Electronic Travel Authorization to Take Effect March 15, 2016: Online Application Process to be Available August 1, 2015

What has changed 

Beginning March 15, 2016 travelers from non-visa required countries (not including U.S. citizens) arriving to Canada by air will be required to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).  Online Applications for the eTA will be available on August 1, 2015, well in advance of program implementation next year. No electronic pre-screen process was required prior to the eTA.

Who  is affected?
What to expect

  • All travelers from non-visa required countries arriving to Canada by air.
  • Citizens of the U.S. are exempted from the requirements

Although the Government of Canada has stated that the vast majority of applications can be made and approved “in minutes”, some applicants and frequent travelers may elect to apply in advance of the March 15, 2016 implementation date once applications are available August 1, 2015.

The eTAs will allow Canada to pre-screen travelers arriving to Canada by air for criminality, fraud and other factors affecting admissibility to Canada.  They will be valid for a period of five (5) years and linked to a specific passport.  The Government of Canada has stated that only a passport, e-mail address and credit card will be needed for the application.

What you need to do
Planning ahead 

  • Emigra will further advise on the application process when details are made available August 1, 2015.
  • Emigra will also provide a reminder of the eTA requirement well in advance of the March 15, 2016 implementation date to ensure you are fully prepared.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.

To sign up to receive Global Immigration eAlerts, CLICK HERE