The Right to be Heard

26th Aug 2017 Comments Off on The Right to be Heard

Last Updated on August 26, 2017 by Steven Meurrens

On May 19, 2017 the Federal Court of Canada issued a scathing criticism of how the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada is breaching procedural fairness in how it bans companies from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

In Ayr Motors Express Inc. v. Canada (Employment Workforce Development and Labour), Justice Le Blanc noted that the Department had not respected a trucking company’s “basic right to be heard” before it banned them for two years from hiring foreign workers.

Citing the Federal Court decision in Tiedeman v Canada (Human Rights Commission), Justice Le Blanc further found that “[t]o solicit the representations of a party and, subsequently, to fail to consider them, renders hollow the hallowed principle of the right to be heard”.

The breach of procedural fairness arose during an inspection involving whether Ayr Motors Express Inc. had failed to comply with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.  Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations require that the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour be the individual who actually bans a company from hiring foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.  However, because that individual is as a federal Cabinet Minister understandably very busy, she instead based her decision on a six page memo that her Department provided her.  This memo contained none of Ayr Motors Express Inc.’s representations, and instead simply contained the Department’s summary conclusions.

Justice Le Blanc found that this was unacceptable, and it will be interesting to see how the Department responds.

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Working without a work permit: what jobs can a visitor do in Canada?

20th Aug 2017 Comments Off on Working without a work permit: what jobs can a visitor do in Canada?

Last Updated on August 20, 2017 by Steven Meurrens

The following is an article that I recent wrote for The Canadian Immigrant:

It is generally understood that visitors to Canada cannot work without work permits. The consequences for doing so can include removal from Canada, being unable to apply for work permits for six months, year-long prohibitions on returning to Canada and even possible criminal sanctions for employers.

Canadian immigration legislation defines “work” broadly. It includes any activities for which wages are paid or commission is earned, and any activity that competes directly with the activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market. Because of this, volunteer work, unpaid internships and practicums may also require work permits.

However, while the definition of what constitutes work is broad, there are many activities that people would generally consider work that do not require work permits.

Remote work

In our increasingly globalized and digitized world, perhaps the most important work permit exemption is for remote work. Canada’s immigration department allows visitors to Canada to perform long-distance (by telephone or internet) work if their employer is outside Canada and they are remunerated from outside Canada. As such, many people who work remotely for companies abroad are able to reside in Canada for extended periods and continue working for their foreign employers. Typical examples include IT consultants, website developers, accountants, and so on.

Self-employment in a purely remote business can also be permitted. For example, an individual who runs a subscription-based website may be able to do so while residing in Canada as a long-term visitor. However, the legality of this may become questionable if the individual begins selling products directly to Canadians.

Volunteer work

The fine line between work that requires a work permit and work that doesn’t is also apparent when it comes to volunteer work.

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