The Government of Canada, as well as several provincial governments, have introduced several measures to protect temporary foreign workers and maintain the integrity of Canada’s foreign worker programs.

Meera Thakrar is a Canadian immigration lawyer whose practices focus on helping companies recruit and retain foreign workers.

Meera joins Peter Edelmann, Deanna Okun-Nachoff and Steven Meurrens to discuss various measures that different levels of government have introduced to protect foreign workers, challenges do governments face in this task and how employer compliance inspections work.

2:15 – Deanna discusses vulnerabilities that caregivers face. These include nonpayment of wages, excessive hours and more. What aggravates the situation is that because caregivers typically seek permanent residency and reporting abuse could potentially jeapordize this.

4:30 – What are some of the motivations of caregiver employers who exploit their foreign workers? What are some possible solutions to reduce the vulnerability of caregivers?

10:20 – Do what extent does the caregiver program deflate Canadian wages? To what extent does the fact that foreign workers provide cheap labour, making goods and services affordable, create a disincentive to stricter enforcement of foreign worker rights.

12:20 – An overview of how the government’s enforcement of compliance in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program works.

14:55 – Canada and British Columbia have an agreement whereby foreign workers who have been exploited can get a six month open work permit. How is this working out? What about the new British Columbia law to protect vulnerable foreign workers? How likely is that to succeed?

25:30 – Peter summarizes a criminal case that he had recently in which a trucking company was charged criminally for paying foreign workers by the mile instead of by the hour.

33:00 – Meera summarizes the case of a Canadian mine was fined for hiring Americans at a higher wage than the mine told the government that it would pay them.

36:20 – Meera discusses a case in which a company faced fines for not tracking the hours that a senior manager who made $500,000 a year was working.

40:00 – Steven discusses a case in which a company got fined for providing training to a worker in a different occupation than what they were supposed to be working in.

41:00 – What are ways to target policies and laws to actually protect foreign workers? Why do authorities seem to be keener to punish workers than prosecute employers?