Minister Kenney announces improvements affecting temporary foreign workers, including live-in caregivers

New rules to strengthen Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program were announced today by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

Changes that were initially published in the Canada Gazette Part 1 on October 9, 2009 are now being implemented.

“The government is taking action to protect temporary foreign workers, including live-in caregivers, from potential abuse and exploitation,” said Minister Jason Kenney. “We owe it to them, their employers and all Canadians to ensure that the program is fair and equitable. After all, they are an essential element of Canada’s economic success.”
“These changes represent an important step. Temporary foreign workers help the Canadian economy by filling labour needs in sectors where Canadians or permanent residents are not readily available,” said Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “Our government is taking action to improve the integrity of the program while ensuring that these people are afforded the necessary protections.”
Highlights of the changes, which come into effect on April 1, 2011, include:
* a more rigorous assessment of the genuineness of the job offer;
* a two-year prohibition from hiring temporary foreign workers for employers who fail to meet their commitments to workers with respect to wages, working conditions and occupation; and
* a limit on the length of time a temporary foreign worker may work in Canada before returning home.

Employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers, including live-in caregivers, will now be assessed against past compliance with program requirements before authorization can be granted. Employers found to have violated worker rights may be refused authorization to hire a foreign worker. Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program helps address temporary labour shortages by allowing employers to hire foreign workers when sufficient numbers of Canadian workers are not readily available. Without access to temporary foreign labour, many small businesses would not be able to function and would be forced into insolvency.