US

Sep 24 2020

Mandatory Registration Process Introduced for Employers of Foreign Nationals in British Columbia

Canada

At a Glance

  • The government of British Columbia introduced a law which requires employers in the province who hire foreign national workers to register with the province by December 15, 2020.
  • The law applies to all employers hiring foreign nationals through the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Home Child-care Provider Pilot or the Home Support Worker Pilot.
  • The new law is meant to safeguard workers’ rights and will allow the provincial government to track which employers are hiring foreign nationals, inspect these employers and sanction those who fail to comply.

The situation

The Ministry of Labour of British Columbia introduced a law which requires employers in the province who hire foreign national workers through the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Home Child-care Provider Pilot or the Home Support Worker Pilot  to register with the province by December 15, 2020.

A closer look

  • Registration process. Employers can register on the province’s website. There is no fee for registering and the entire process is expected to take approximately 20 minutes.
  • Validity. Employers’ registration validity will last three years; if they continue to hire foreign nationals after three years, they will have to re-register.
  • Purpose. The new law will allow the provincial government to track which employers are hiring foreign nationals, audit employers and impose fines on noncompliant employers. 
  • Exclusions. The following employers are not required to register:
    • Employers who have already hired foreign nationals but are not hiring any additional foreign nationals;
    • Employers hiring foreign nationals under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program; and
    • Employers who hire foreign nationals under certain work permit exemptions, such as clergy, certain entertainers and athletes and journalists; and any non-Labor Market Impact Assessment work permit category, such as intra-company transferees.

Impact for employers

Employers will have to ensure that their workplace standards follow current Canadian laws. Employers that fail to comply with the registration requirement could face fines or other penalties.

Impact for foreign nationals

The new system is intended to help safeguard the workplace for foreign nationals by ensuring that they are paid for the hours they work and have a job description matching the work they perform.

Background

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act. The Act is meant to address concerns of workplace abuse of foreign nationals. The registration requirement is the final step in implementing the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act, which was passed in British Columbia in 2018. For the 2019 version of the Act, British Colombia established a licensing requirement for recruiters of foreign workers and launched the recruiter registry.
  • Other provinces registration requirements. Other provinces, including Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, have implemented similar registration requirements.

Looking ahead

It is expected that other provinces may also implement similar registration requirements to ensure foreign workers’ rights in areas of provincial jurisdiction. 

Fragomen will report on relevant developments.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].