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On-Site Investigations of Employers and Foreign Worker Audits

On June 8, 2013, the government announced new regulations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which would require employers who have hired foreign workers to maintain foreign worker records for a period of six years to demonstrate compliance with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.  This proposed legislation further aims to enhance the government’s power to investigate non-compliance by establishing a warrant-free search of the employer’s premises.  It further requires the employer to make all records and information available to the Temporary Foreign Worker compliance authorities.  The government inspectors will be able to “examine anything on the premises,” review documents, use photocopiers to copy records, interrogate staff and employers and take photographs or make video and audio recordings.  On-site inspections will be triggered three ways: (1) if Service Canada or CIC, or a government officer suspects an employer is not complying with the rules; (2) if the employer has previously broken the rules; or (3) if the business was chosen as part of a random audit. Inspections can be conducted as of the first day of employment of the foreign worker until six years after the last day of that employment. We are concerned that these changes are in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and constitute a violation of civil liberties, particularly because this new legislation does not include any appeal options and the inspections are warrantless.

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