Proposed Legislation To Protect Foreign Live-In Caregivers
The Ontario government is introducing legislation that would, if passed, help protect foreign nationals who are live-in caregivers.
The federal Live-in Caregivers Program (LCP) allows individuals residing in Canada to hire qualified temporary foreign workers in their private residence to provide care for children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
On July 2, 2009, the Ministry of Labour released a public consultation paper on foreign and resident employment recruitment in Ontario and sought input from both stakeholders and the public. Consultations ended on August 21, 2009. Protections contained in the proposed legislation were informed by the feedback received in this consultation.
WHAT THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION WOULD DO
The legislation would, if passed:
- Prohibit recruiters from charging live-in caregivers, directly or indirectly, fees including recruitment and placement fees and fees for other supplementary services.
- Prohibiting anyone from collecting prohibited fees on behalf of a recruiter.
- Prohibit employers from recovering, directly or indirectly, recruitment and placement costs from live-in caregivers.
- Prohibit reprisals against live-in caregivers for exercising their rights under the legislation.
- Prohibit an employer or recruiter in Ontario from taking possession of a live-in caregiver's property, including documents such as passports or work permits.
- Authorize Ministry of Labour (MOL) employment standards officers to act on tips and conduct proactive investigations and audits and use Employment Standards Act, 2000 enforcement mechanisms.
- Require recruiters and in some situations, employers to distribute information sheets setting out foreign live-in caregivers rights under the proposed legislation and, in the case of recruiters, the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
- In addition, MOL would continue education and outreach activities to assist foreign live-in caregivers.
REGULATION MAKING AUTHORITY
The proposed legislation would, if passed, also provide regulation making authority to:
- Extend the prohibition against charging fees to cover other classes of temporary foreign workers by regulation.
- Exclude certain fees from the comprehensive prohibition against fees.
- Make exceptions to the prohibition against the recovery of recruitment costs or to add to the prohibition and as well to cover other classes of temporary foreign workers with respect to the recovery of recruitment costs.
There would three and a half years to file a claim. There would also be no maximum amount on orders to repay fees or costs in connection with a violation of the proposed legislation.