New Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act (Bill 48) – What Employers and Foreign Worker Recruiters Need to Know

On November 8, 2018, the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act (Bill 48) (the “Act”) received Royal Assent. The Act aims to provide additional protection for foreign workers by including a complaint process and employer and recruiter registry, in an effort to hold BC employers and recruitment agencies accountable.

“Foreign workers” is broadly defined under the Act as a foreign national who is an employee, as defined in the Employment Standards Act, in British Columbia or seeking employment in British Columbia. The definition includes individuals in Canada who are not Canadian citizens and permanent residents with valid status in Canada to work in Canada, such as holders of work permits and study permits, and individuals from outside of Canada who are interested in working in British Columbia.

Below is a summary of some of the prohibited activities of employers and foreign worker recruiters:

  1. Producing or distributing false or misleading information relating to recruitment services, immigration, immigration services, employment, housing for foreign workers or the laws of British Columbia or Canada;
  2. Taking possession of or retaining a foreign national’s passport or other official documents;
  3. Misrepresenting employment opportunities, such as a position, duties, length of employment, wages and benefits or other terms of employment;
  4. Threatening deportation or other action for which there is no lawful cause; and
  5. Taking action against or threatening to take action against a person for participating in an investigation or proceeding by any government or law enforcement agency or for making a complaint or inquiry to any government or law enforcement agency.

An individual who is found to have contravened the Act may be fined up to $50,000. In certain cases, an individual who has contravened the Act may be imprisoned for a term of up to one year, or may face a combination of a fine and term of imprisonment. A corporation who is found to have contravened the Act may be liable for a fine of up to $100,000.

This is a brief summary of the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact one of the lawyers in our Labour + Employment Practice Group or Immigration Practice Group.

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