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Corporate Compliance

Companies that hire temporary foreign workers must ensure that they comply with the applicable immigration programs. It is essential that such employers be prepared for government compliance audits which can happen at any time. At BartLAW, we will ensure that your company stays apprised of your compliance obligations, and we proactively ensure compliance with all immigration regulations.

Our firm works closely with employers on project undertakings to provide guidance on maintaining compliance with Canadian immigration regulations. The compliance services we provide employers include:

  • Employer Immigration Compliance Reviews;
  • Government Audit Representation;
  • Employer Compliance Defence; and
  • Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Restructuring Analysis.

Employer Immigration Compliance Reviews

In partnership with employers, we build custom action plans in line with regulatory requirements and corporate policy priorities and targets, helping companies to stay on track with their operational goals while maintaining immigration compliance. We ensure that employers maintain necessary compliance documents and are able to access them easily and quickly in the event of a government audit, in addition to identifying any areas of concern. In some cases, we may recommend voluntary disclosure of any compliance issues identified to minimize potential liability.

 

Government Audit Representation

Government audits are extremely difficult to navigate, given the complexity of the immigration compliance regime in Canada. The employer compliance regulatory regime gives investigating officers widespread power to review documents, interview employees, and conduct warrantless searches of workplaces. Investigations may appear straightforward, but without a comprehensive understanding of the immigration compliance regime, employers may unwittingly raise concerns of noncompliance where there are none.

We provide employer representation to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and/or Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in the event that the government commences a compliance audit. We will inform employers on this process and what to expect from an investigating officer. In addition, we will ensure that companies provide all necessary and appropriate documentation to the investigating officer within the required time frames and disclosure rules. We also provide onsite representation for workplace inspections, reviews of documentation, and ESDC and CBSA interviews. Our representation involves verbal and written legal representation on the basic areas of compliance, voluntary disclosures, legal justifications and defence of noncompliance based on specific legal rules and business circumstances to minimize liability.

Employer Compliance Defence

Findings of noncompliance can result in the imposition of significant monetary penalties and bans from the hiring of temporary foreign workers. This may have a serious impact on all businesses, particularly those that rely on the international movement of staff.

If the Canadian government has already identified areas of noncompliance, we will work with these employers to minimize the impact of such a finding on the business and/or the responsible officers of the business. We will review identified compliance concerns thoroughly and work with employers to identify the actions that led to the noncompliance and create remedial programs while minimizing ny impact on the business. We will employ legal strategies to defend noncompliance, including the use of regulatory defences, legal justifications, remedial programs, and other such tools in order to keep administrative monetary penalties and potential program bans as minimal as possible.

Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Restructuring

Analysis during mergers and acquisitions (M&A), divestitures, and other types of corporate restructuring activities are typically focused on the “big picture” and mitigating financial risks — often overlooking the critical area of immigration compliance. Corporate changes without adequate consideration of immigration impacts can lead to serious employer sanctions and other repercussions for essential employees and the business, even impacting the success of the restructuring.

BartLAW provides immigration-related due diligence compliance reviews in acquisitions, including a thorough immigration status analysis, impact determination, and management of necessary immigration activities to ensure employers plan for all potential immigration issues in advance before a restructuring is completed.