Ottawa Warns Against LMIA Abuse

The federal government is warning carriers that any abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) will result in serious penalties including hefty fines and permanent bans.

Today’s Trucking reports:

The warning was issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) amid allegations that some fleets are cashing in on the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, which allows companies to hire people under the TFWP.

Before any foreigner can be hired for a particular job, employers have to prove that no Canadian is available to fill the position, and that is done through the LMIA process, supervised by ESDC.

A positive LMIA is issued by ESDC through Service Canada under the TFWP, which was launched many years ago to ease shortages of skilled workers in various sectors of the economy.

In a statement emailed to our sister publication Road Today on Friday, an ESDC spokeswoman said the department will not tolerate any abuse of the program.

“Employment and Social Development Canada takes the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the protection of foreign workers very seriously,” said Marie-Eve Sigouin-Campeau.

She said, to protect workers from possible retribution, the department has decided not to disclose information regarding specific cases, including whether or not there is an active investigation of an employer.

The public can report potential wrongdoing and misuse of the program through a confidential tip line, she said.

“All allegations are reviewed and appropriate action is taken. If criminal activity is suspected, the information is forwarded to law enforcement agencies such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA),” Sigouin-Campeau said.

In its most recent action against immigration fraud, the CBSA announced last month a slew of charges against four South Asian businessmen in B.C. That case is still in court.

Sigouin-Campeau further warned that ESDC has the authority to inspect employer activities including visiting employer worksites with or without notice to ensure they are meeting the conditions of the program.

Employers who are found to be violating the terms are subject to serious penalties, she said.

“This includes monetary penalties up to a maximum of $1 million in a given year, permanent bans from using the program and having the names of their companies and information on the violations published on a public list, managed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (ICRC), Sigouin-Campeau added.

Full story here.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has been bringing attention to this issue. The Alliance has urged the Government of Canada needs to continue working with the trucking industry and other sectors to create trusted and effective employer programs.

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