CIC established Temporary Foreign Worker Units in Toronto and Moncton to serve as main points of contact for companies wishing to hire foreign workers in the two regions. These were in addition to units already established in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, so that employers across Canada now have a dedicated point of service where they can get help in finding the workers they need. The units help make the process easier for employers, and help strengthen local and regional economies. Specifically, the units:
- provide advice to employers who plan to hire temporary foreign workers by identifying applications where exemptions from labour market opinions can be applied;
- pre-screen supporting documents from employers to streamline the application process for such workers; and
- provide outreach information and support to employers seeking to use the TFW program.
In 2008, the federal government also produced a pamphlet for foreign workers to inform them of their rights in Canada. It was published in English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Tagalog and Hindi.
Generally speaking, the federal government is working more closely with the provinces to address regional needs. Formal working groups have been established in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan that deal specifically with the role of temporary foreign workers in Canada’s economy and society.
Several agreements governing temporary foreign workers have been concluded between the federal government and interested provinces and territories, including agreements with British Columbia (2010), Alberta (2009) and Ontario (2008).
HRSDC and Service Canada are negotiating agreements with the provinces and territories so that they may share information with the federal government on the enforcement of their labour standards. This will assist Service Canada in determining whether an employer may hire a temporary foreign worker. It’s important to know whether they’ve complied with labour standards before an employer can be authorized to hire temporary foreign workers.
Such information-sharing agreements have been signed with Alberta (2008), Manitoba (2008), British Columbia (2010) and Saskatchewan (2010), and are in the process of being implemented.
The provinces are also becoming more involved in managing the entry of foreign workers into their jurisdiction. They are taking a more active role in protecting foreign workers, which is appropriate given that the provinces are largely responsible for the enforcement of employment standards and the regulation of businesses, such as the registration of third-party recruiters. Ontario and the four western provinces impose restrictions on the right of recruiters to charge fees to workers under provincial legislation. Prince Edward Island was the first Atlantic province to enact similar legislation.