COVID-19: Service Canada to Conduct Compliance Inspections of Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) Employers

April 27, 2020 | Canada

According to new regulations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), TFWP employers must meet certain obligations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

To ensure that employers are complying with these obligations, Service Canada will begin conducting remote/virtual inspections, including during the first 14 days of a temporary foreign worker’s stay when they are required to self-isolate. 

New Employer Obligations under the IRPR

email subject line must state “TFW arrival to [business name]” and the email must include the employee’s name and contact information, date and time of arrival, and the employer’s contact information, including mailing address and the contact information of a secondary contact. 

  • While the worker is completing the 14-day quarantine period, the employer must be sure not to do anything to interfere with the worker’s compliance with their quarantine responsibilities, and must pay the worker the wage indicated in their work permit application for at least 30 hours per week beginning on the day they arrive, even if under quarantine.
  • Employers that provide accommodation must also make sure that:
    • Isolating workers are separated from other workers who are not isolating;
    • Accommodation shared by workers in quarantine allows the workers to stay at least two metres away from each other; 
    • Cleaning and disinfecting products are provided to isolating workers; and
    • During the entire period of employment, a private bedroom and bathroom is provided to any worker who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Throughout the employment period, the employer must be sure not to do anything to interfere with the worker’s compliance with laws related to COVID-19.  
  • During an inspection, the employer must comply with the inspector’s requests.

Inspection Process and Required Documentation

Employers selected for inspection will be contacted by a Service Canada Investigator and will have up to 48 hours to submit the requested documentation (see below) by email or through an online portal. Accordingly, employers are advised to have the below documentation ready. Employers who do not respond will receive a Notice of Preliminary Finding and will have five days to respond to it. Those who do not respond to this notice will be subject to penalties. 

One or more of the following will be requested:

  • Proof of paid wages paid (pay stubs);
  • Photos of accommodations respecting social distancing if more than one worker is in isolation at once (e.g., sleeping and kitchen quarters showing beds and chairs at least two meters apart) 
  • Photos of private isolation space, if deemed necessary
  • Proof of adequate supply of sanitation products for the worker to use 

Employers may also be asked to provide a virtual tour of the facilities during the inspection process. 

Penalties

Employers found to be non-compliant with the new IRPR regulations related to COVID-19 may be subject to penalties based on the severity of the violation. Penalties include fines of CAD 1,000 to 100,000 per violation, up to a maximum of CAD one million over one year; a ban from using the TWFP of one to 10 years or a permanent ban; and/or the cancellation of previously-issued LMIAs. 

The latest information is available via the TFWP website