What Are Your Obligations As An Employer Hiring An Internationally Trained Worker?
ITWs: Now what?
Many employers in Canada take advantage of the International Trained Workers program(s) to help alleviate employment needs. But that’s only the beginning. These are your employees now and you have to treat them fairly.
In our last blog about internationally trained workers (ITWs), we discussed how these Internationally Trained Workers help fill gaps left by the domestic labour force unwilling or untrained to help with domestic labour problems.
The benefits to employers are numerous but the obligations don’t stop with a simple offer letter. Employers have post-hiring obligations to ITWs even though these are generally temporary workers. Employers must:
- Arrange for workers’ compensation benefits and medical coverage for the temporary worker when they arrive in Canada, as required by the province or territory;
- Make sure that the temporary worker has the correct work permit;
- Comply with the conditions and time limits outlined in the temporary worker’s work permit;
- Remain actively engaged in the business that submitted the offer of employment for as long as the temporary worker is employed;
- Provide the temporary worker with a job in the same occupation that was listed in the offer of employment;
- Provide the temporary worker with wages and working conditions that meet or are better than those listed in the offer of employment; and
- Keep any documentation related to the hiring and employment of the temporary worker for a period of six years after the work permit is issued.
Sometimes inspections are carried out to ensure employers are compliant with all laws and regulations related to temporary foreign workers. The idea behind this is to help protect temporary workers from mistreatment. Any employer found non-compliant will receive a letter explaining the violation and any penalties associated with it. Employers have 30 days to respond and provide any other information regarding the violation.
There are, in some cases, justifications for non-compliance such as:
- A change in federal or provincial law;
- A change to the provisions of a collective agreement;
- A major change in economic conditions that directly affects the business of the employer;
- An error made in good faith by the employer, such as an unintentional administrative or accounting mistake, and the employer later made efforts to correct it for temporary workers who were affected; and
- An exceptional and unforeseen event
No matter the justifications, compliance or non-compliance of employers towards ITWs, it is a good rule of thumb to treat these workers with the same respect and under the same regulations you are treating your full-time employees. That will likely ensure all laws and compliance are met, and thus obligations will have been fulfilled.