Many employers in Canada look to foreign workers to fill roles in a variety of industries or to fill existing skill gaps across the country. At the same time, Canada is protective of its labour market and strives to ensure jobs are available to Canadians first. As a result, employers must go through increasingly complex processes and evaluations in order to secure the authority to bring foreign workers into Canada. They can also have this authority revoked if they fail to meet compliance standards associated with the various foreign worker programs. Any business seeking to bring skilled foreign workers into Canada must remain in compliance with the various rules and regulations at all times, or they risk losing that right altogether, in addition to facing other sanctions.
At Garson Immigration Law in Toronto, we often work with small and large companies across the country to help ensure they are meeting compliance standards and can withstand the scrutiny of a review or inspection if necessary. We understand that protecting a skilled workforce is key to the success of every business, and the devastating impact a finding of non-compliance can have for an employer.
Most employers require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if they wish to bring a foreign worker into Canada to fulfil an available role. The purpose of this assessment is to establish there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a position that no Canadians or permanent residents are able to fill. If an employer secures an LMIA for a role (or several roles), they risk having their LMIA suspended if they later fail an inspection or review. As a result, they may lose the right to bring in additional foreign workers.
Any employer with foreign workers in Canada may become subject to an inspection or a review by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) with or without prior notice. ESDC reserves the right to conduct site visits, interview the employer regarding the conditions set out in the LMIA application as well as interview anyone employed by that employer.
Employer Compliance Reviews occur as part of the LMIA application process, to ensure past compliance with any previous LMIAs. Employer Compliance Reviews will generally be looking to ensure the following with respect to any person hired under a previous LMIA:
Failure to pass an Employer Compliance Review can result in the following sanctions against the employer:
In addition, employers who obtain foreign workers under the International Mobility Program are also subject to compliance reviews. This means that even if you do not obtain an LMIA for a foreign national, but employ them under a treaty, for example, Immigration Canada will want to be certain that the individual and the employer is adhering to the documentation initially submitted.
Inspections may also be conducted at any point during the first six years of employment under any foreign worker’s work permit, and may occur for any of the following reasons:
Inspectors will look at several factors to ensure workers employed under an LMIA or LMIA-exempt program are treated fairly, and consistent with the terms of their original offers of employment. Inspections will look at any and all aspects of a company’s employment of foreign workers to ensure compliance, and any employer found lacking may face consequences. For example, a worker with an employer-specific work permit that is found to be subjected to abuse may be granted an open work permit instead, allowing them to seek employment elsewhere in Canada. Further, an employer may face a ban from applying for new work permits, fines and a revocation of existing LMIAs.
At Garson Immigration Law, we understand the importance of a skilled foreign workforce for many businesses across Canada. We work with employers of various sizes not only in the application process for LMIAs and LMIA-exempt work permit categories but also to ensure they are aware of all obligations under that program and any other. We have considerable experience not only in preparing responses to corporate immigration audits but also in designing corporate immigration strategies that set a company up for compliance from the start. Our clients’ success depends on staying up to date on all employer compliance regulations and remaining inspection-ready at any time. We make it our business to see to their success in this regard.
At Garson Immigration Law, we are exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law and regularly provide assistance to corporate clients employing foreign workers to ensure they maintain in good standing. We have been widely recognized for our expertise in the field and will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs. To discuss your circumstances with one of our experienced immigration lawyers, please contact us online or call us at 416-321-2860.