Section 9.4 of Annex B of the Canada – British Columbia Immigration Agreement 2015 provides that “if Canada or B.C. determines that there is a real and substantial risk to a foreign worker as a result of an employer not complying with federal or provincial laws, Canada and B.C. will jointly undertake actions to mitigate such risk, including, where appropriate, issuing a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) through the priority Labour Market Impact Assessment process, or issuing a new work permit without the need for an LMIA provided that the Foreign Worker meets all other requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “IRPR”).
On May 4, 2018 the Government of Canada announced how it will apply the LMIA exemption to foreign workers who are at risk as a result of potential employer non-compliance in British Columbia. The policy will be in force until April 7, 2020. The measures are available to all foreign nationals in B.C. who hold an employer-specific work permit for an employer located in B.C. or who are authorized to work without a work permit.
Under the policy, visa officers may consider issuing a work permit if they have reason to suspect potential employer non-compliance with provincial laws or reason to suspect potential employer non-compliance with federal laws.
According to the IRCC website, examples of employer non-compliance with a provincial law may include but are not limited to the following:
- employer non-compliance with the Employment Standards Act by charging job placement and recruitment fees or by repeatedly not paying wages owed to the foreign worker; and
- employer violation of the Occupation Health and Safety Regulations whereby the employer is failing to provide a safe work environment, which creates undue hazards to the health and safety of the foreign worker or fails to correct unsafe working conditions.