Employment & Labour, Immigration

TFWP and IMP changes raise the risks to employers

New rules for the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP) raise both the complexity and the spectre of massive fines for non-compliance, says Toronto immigration lawyer Robin Seligman.

The new rules — which take effect Dec. 1 — prescribe fines of up to $1 million and a ban on participating in the programs for non-compliance.

“For those employers who process these documents themselves, it really is a lot more onerous and they should get legal counsel,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com. “Those lawyers practising employment law or in-house counsel who aren’t intimately familiar with the programs and these new rules should also seek outside counsel from experienced immigration counsel.”

Seligman, a certified specialist in citizenship and immigration, says the new rules are an “overreaction” to the abuse of the previous rules and go much further in demanding accountability from the get-go.

“You have to keep all your documents, from the moment you start advertising for a Canadian to fill the position to show that no Canadian was available,” she says.

Also, under the IMP, employees who come from branch or affiliate offices around the world are under new restrictions surrounding where they work and how much they get paid and what they do, she says.

“If you come into an office in Canada and the company expands and has three job sites and now you’re working at all three, does that mean you’re not in compliance because your permit says you’re to work at one location?” Seligman says.

Similarly, employees can’t be paid bonuses beyond what the salary listed on the application states, she added.

There’s a classification of the severity of non-compliance matters from A through B and C, with C being the most serious.

The fines and penalties escalate with the size of the company and are cumulative, she says, meaning a simple error resulting in non-compliance repeated across 20 or 30 employees could result in 20 or 30 fines for same thing.

“In addition, there’s a points system which will also come into play,” Seligman says. “There hasn’t been much on this in the media because of the election but this is really something anyone using the TFWP or IMP needs to pay attention to and get up to speed quickly.”

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