Ontario Working with Federal Government to Protect Temporary Foreign Workers
Information-Sharing Agreement to Reinforce Workplace Rights for All Workers
The Ontario government is working with the Government of Canada to ensure temporary foreign workers are treated fairly and kept safe on the job through a new information-sharing agreement.
The agreement allows the the federal government and the province to exchange data, including the names of employers and recruitment agents seeking to hire temporary foreign workers, which will help:
- Increase Ontario's oversight of workplaces that hire temporary foreign workers
- Ensure employers are complying with the province's workplace laws
- Identify and report employers who fail to comply with workplace rights and standards
- Determine whether employers are eligible to hire foreign workers.
Temporary foreign workers are generally at greater risk of having their workplace rights violated, as their work is often seasonal with a work permit tied to one employer, and may lack language skills or resources to understand their rights at work. This agreement will help the Ontario government ensure that temporary foreign workers have the same protections as all other workers in the province.
Strengthening protections for vulnerable workers is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- Last year, Ontario extended protections contained in the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009 to all foreign nationals employed or seeking employment via an immigration of foreign temporary employee program
- From May 2 to June 30, 2016, the Ontario Ministry of Labour conducted an employment standards inspection blitz focusing on workplaces that employ temporary foreign workers
- Foreign nationals and others can call Ontario’s Employment Standards Information Centre (1-800-531-5551) and the Health and Safety Contact Centre (1-877-202-0008) to get information about their workplace rights in many languages.
- International Migrants Day is held annually on December 18 to recognize the efforts, contributions and rights of migrants worldwide.
“Our workplace laws are for all Ontario workers, including the temporary foreign workers who help farmers and business owners in our province grow their businesses and the economy. We are concerned about the potential exploitation of temporary foreign workers, and this new information-sharing agreement will help us to better protect some of our most vulnerable workers.”