After hiring a temporary worker

The information on this page relates to employers who have hired a temporary worker through the International Mobility Program.

If you have hired a temporary worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), find out more about the TFWP.

After you have gone through the hiring process and the temporary worker’s application for a work permit is approved, you have certain responsibilities and conditions you must meet.

Your responsibilities

As an employer of a temporary worker, you must:

  • arrange for workers’ compensation benefits and medical coverage for the temporary worker when they arrive in Canada, as required by your province or territory;
  • make sure that the temporary worker has the necessary work permit (the Social Insurance Number [SIN] that a temporary worker is given is not proof that they have a valid work permit);
  • comply with the conditions and time limits outlined in the temporary worker’s work permit; you are legally responsible for ensuring that these conditions are met, so make sure you are familiar with them;
  • remain actively engaged in the business that submitted the offer of employment for as long as the temporary worker is employed;
  • comply with all federal, provincial and territorial employment laws, including laws about recruiting workers;
  • provide the temporary worker with a job in the same occupation that was listed in the offer of employment;
  • provide the temporary worker with wages and working conditions that meet or are better than those listed in the offer of employment;
  • make reasonable efforts to provide a workplace that is free of physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse;
  • keep any documentation related to the hiring and employment of the temporary worker for a period of six years after the work permit is issued; and
  • attend any inspection and provide all requested documentation or information.

Inspections

You may be subject to an inspection by an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer or an Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada officer acting on behalf of IRCC.

The purpose of an inspection is to make sure you (as an employer) are meeting the conditions set out when you hire a temporary worker through the International Mobility Program. This will help protect temporary workers from mistreatment and ensure that the International Mobility Program is being used as intended.

There are three reasons you could be selected for an inspection:

  • there is reason to suspect non-compliance;
  • you have been found non-compliant in the past; or
  • you have been selected randomly.

The employer who submits the offer of employment to IRCC to hire a temporary worker will be responsible for meeting the program conditions and may be selected for an inspection at any time after the first day the temporary worker is employed and up to six years after their employment has ended.

If you have allowed an authorized representative to submit offers of employment on your behalf, you are still responsible for complying with all inspection activities and requests. If you wish to use an authorized representative following an inspection notice, you will need to submit a Use of Representative [IMM 5476] form with all other requested documents.

If you are selected for an inspection

If selected for an inspection, you must:

  • report at the specified time and location to answer questions;
  • provide requested documents as indicated in the letter you receive; and
  • attend any on-site inspections, when requested.

During an inspection, an officer may also enter and inspect any place in which a foreign national performs work and interview any foreign or Canadian workers at the worksite.

Final decision

If you are found to be non-compliant, you will receive a letter that explains the violation and the resulting penalties.

You will have 30 days to respond in writing with additional information regarding the violation, the resulting penalties, or both. This may include justification for non-compliance, as well as any other factor or consideration you feel is important for the officer to know before a final decision is made.

You may also ask for an extension beyond the initial 30 days for responding. Extension requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If the final decision is a finding of non-compliance, you will receive a final notice, which includes information about the condition(s) violated, how the employer failed to comply, the reason(s) for the decision, the penalties and next steps to take.

Justification for non-compliance

In some cases, non-compliance may be justified. Violations may be justified if they are the result of:

  • a change in federal or provincial law;
  • a change to the provisions of a collective agreement;
  • a major change in economic conditions that directly affects the business of the employer,
  • an error made in good faith by the employer, such as an unintentional administrative or accounting mistake, and the employer later made efforts to correct it for temporary workers who were affected;
  • an exceptional and unforeseen event (ie. natural disaster); and
  • other similar situations.

During an inspection and before a final decision of non-compliance is made, you should submit information and supporting evidence that explains how the non-compliance is justified to IRCC.

If the officer finds your justification acceptable, you may avoid being found non-compliant.

Penalties

New regulations for employers that are found non-compliant came into effect on December 1st, 2015.

If you were found non-compliant for a violation that occurred:

Before December 1, 2015

Your name and address will be added to the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions and you will not be able to hire temporary workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program for a period of two years starting on the date the decision was made.

On or after December 1, 2015

You could face a range of consequences. These are determined on a points system that considers:

  • the type of violation;
  • your compliance history;
  • the severity of non-compliance;
  • the size of the your business (for financial penalties only); and
  • whether you voluntarily disclosed information about possible non-compliance before an inspection was initiated.

Possible penalties may include:

  • warnings;
  • monetary penalties ranging from $500 to $100,000 per violation, up to a maximum of $1 million over one year;
  • a ban of one, two, five or ten years, or permanent bans for the most serious violations;
  • your company’s name and penalty published on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions (when you have received a monetary penalty and/or a ban);
  • work permit applications associated with your business being refused; and
  • previously-issued work permits associated with your business being revoked.

Voluntary disclosure

If you think you may have violated the conditions of the International Mobility Program, you are encouraged to take necessary actions to become compliant and to voluntarily disclose this information to IRCC. You can complete the Employer Compliance Voluntary Disclosure Form (IMM5964) and submit it to the address listed on the form.

IRCC will determine if the information received is relevant and credible, and will assess the severity of the possible violation. IRCC will then determine if an inspection is necessary. Not all disclosures will lead to an inspection.

For a disclosure to be accepted by the officer, the disclosure must be complete and, at the time the disclosure is made, the employer must not already be the subject of an IMP inspection or any other enforcement action related to an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

If an inspection is conducted after a voluntary disclosure and you are found non-compliant, you may face a reduced penalty or no penalty at all. In such cases, IRCC will consider a number of factors to determine if you qualify for a reduced penalty, including:

  • the completeness of the disclosure;
  • whether the disclosure is truly voluntary (i.e. you are not already the subject of an inspection or enforcement action);
  • the severity of the impact of the violation on the temporary worker;
  • the severity of the impact of the violation on Canadian workers or the Canadian economy;
  • the timeliness of the disclosure; and
  • your history of voluntary disclosures.

You may benefit from a voluntary disclosure only if the violation occurred after December 1, 2015.

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