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Newspaper article

Immigration officials target bad employers

Date

2011-02-27

Authors

Tom Godfrey

Abstract

Federal immigration officials are creating a database of "bad employers" who are blacklisted for abusing a foreign worker program and banned from bringing employees to Canada for two years.

Newspaper title

Toronto Sun

Full text

Federal immigration officials are creating a database of "bad employers" who are blacklisted for abusing a foreign worker program and banned from bringing employees to Canada for two years.

The so-called bad employers will have their names posted on a government website, starting April 1, as part of a crackdown on abusers of the Temporary Foreign Workers and Live-in Caregivers programs, federal officials said.

The changes stem from 2008 allegations against Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla by two former caregivers who claimed they were mistreated and had their passports withheld by her family members, according to federal officials.

Immigration minister Jason Kenney has been working to curb fraud and abuse in the programs.

Immigration lawyers have mixed feeling about the database claiming it will help workers but can lead to false accusations against companies.

"This is long overdue," said lawyer Richard Kurland. "Any employer who mistreats a foreign workers gets barred, plain and simple."

Toronto Lawyer Guidy Mamann said he's hoping there will be safeguards to protect Canadian companies that hire foreign workers.

"Any allegation of wrongdoing and a company can be blacklisted or shut down," Mamann said. "Canadian employers should have the benefit of due process."

He said it's easy for a disgruntled worker to make bogus allegations that can hurt a company's reputation and have it blacklisted.

The changes will plug a loophole that allows recruiters to bring foreign workers to Canada with phony job offers, assigning them, instead, to perform unauthorized work which pays a fraction of what they were promised. The database has been dubbed a "blacklist" or "roll of shame," since it would include information on anyone deemed to have made a bogus job offer in the preceding two years.

There is now a fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment for up to two years for anyone who "employs a foreign national in a capacity in which the foreign national is not authorized," according to immigration laws.

Another change to the program will set four-year limits on work permits.

After a foreign employees work in Canada for four years, they will not be allowed to apply for a new work permit until an additional four years have elapsed.

The number of temporary foreign workers entering Canada increased from 107,217 in 1999 to 193,061 in 2008, with more than 40% destined for Alberta and British Columbia.

Links

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers, Occupations in services - Domestic work, Sales and service occupations - general, Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations - general, Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations - general, Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing, Dancers, and Other

Content types

Policy analysis and Documented cases of abuse

Target groups

Public awareness

Geographical focuses

Canada, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Other provinces, Federal, Nova Scotia, and National relevance

Languages

English