Employer Compliance: International Mobility Program (IMP)



Employers in Canada are required to adhere to certain rules when employing foreign professionals through the International Mobility Program. These rules are intended to help the federal government achieve its objectives through the IMP. The Canadian government, while recognizing that the IMP has broad economic, social, and cultural implications, ensures that employers do not take advantage of it at the expense of both foreign and domestic employees. Learn more in the sections below.


Responsibilities of Employers

  • When the employee arrives in Canada, you must arrange for workers' compensation benefits and medical coverage as required by the province or territory.

  • Verify that the employee has the correct work authorization, the Social Insurance Number (SIN) is not proof of a genuine work permit;

  • Ensure that the worker is compliant with the conditions and time limits stated in the employee's work permit. Employers are legally required to ensure that these standards are satisfied.

  • The employer must continue to be actively engaged in the business that made the offer of employment for as long as the employee is employed.

  • Comply with all federal, provincial, and territorial employment regulations, as well as recruiting guidelines.

  • The employer should provide the employee with the same job or industry as specified in his or her offer of employment;

  • Provide the employee with remuneration and working conditions that are comparable to or better than those specified in the employment offer;

  • Reasonable efforts should be made to eliminate all forms of physical, sexual, psychological, and financial abuse in the workplace.;

  • You must keep any paperwork describing the worker's hiring and employment for six years after the work permit is granted and attend any inspection and provide all requested documentation or information.


Inspections


Employers may be subjected to an IRCC officer's inspection or an ESDC/Service Canada employee working on behalf of IRCC.


An inspection is a method of ensuring that the employer continues to comply with the criteria outlined above, which ensures that employees are not harmed and that the IMP is used as intended.


There are three reasons why an employer might be chosen for an inspection:

  • There is cause to believe that the company is non-compliance.

  • In the past, the company has been found non-compliant.; or

  • The employer was chosen at random.

The employer who makes an offer of employment to IRCC to hire a temporary worker will be held accountable for fulfilling the program requirements, and they may be inspected at any time during the first day of employment and up to six years after the work permit has been issued.


Employers who engage the services of an authorized representative to submit offers of employment on their behalf are still responsible for conducting all inspection activities and demands.


If selected for an inspection, the employer must:

  • Report at the specified time and location to answer questions;

  • Provide the requested materials as directed in the letter received; and

  • Attend any on-site inspections when requested.

During an inspection, an officer may go into and inspect any worksite where a foreign national is employed and interview any foreign or Canadian workers.


Final decision


Non-compliant businesses will receive a letter notifying them of the infraction and associated penalties (described below).


After receiving a notice, the employer will have 30 days to respond in writing with additional information about the violation, as well as any resulting fines or both. This may include justification for non-compliance and any other factor or consideration that the employer feels is important for the officer to know before a final decision is made.


Employers may also ask for an extension beyond the first 30 days to respond. Extension requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


If the final decision is a finding of non-compliance. The employer will receive a final notice, including information about the condition(s) violated, how the employer failed to comply, the reason(s) for the decision, the penalties, and the following steps to take.


Justification for non-compliance


Non-compliance may be justified in some instances. Violations may be justified if they are the result of:

  • a change in federal or provincial legislation;

  • a change to the provisions of a collective agreement;

  • a significant change in economic conditions that directly affect the business of the employer,

  • an error made in good faith by the employer, such as an unintentional administrative or accounting mistake, and the employer later made efforts to correct it for any workers who were affected;

  • an exceptional and unforeseen event (i.e. natural disaster); and

  • other similar situations.

Before IRCC decides that an employer is non-compliant, it should be notified in writing of any relevant information and supporting evidence that contradicts the conclusion. If the officer concludes that the explanation provided by the employer is acceptable, it may avoid being labelled as non-compliant.


Penalties


Employers who are deemed non-compliant for a violation might face a variety of consequences. These are determined using a points system that weighs the following factors:

  • the type of violation;

  • compliance history;

  • the severity of non-compliance;

  • the size of the business (for financial penalties only); and

  • whether the employer voluntarily disclosed information about possible non-compliance before an inspection was initiated.

Possible penalties may include:

  • warnings;

  • monetary penalties ranging from $500 to $100,000 per violation, up to a maximum of $1 million over one year;

  • a ban of one, two, five or ten years, or permanent bans for the most severe violations;

  • the company's name and penalty published on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions (when the employer has received a monetary penalty and/or a ban);

  • work permit applications associated with the business being refused; and

  • previously-issued work permits associated with the business being revoked.


Voluntary Disclosure


Employers who think they may have violated the conditions of the IMP are encouraged to take necessary actions to become compliant and disclose this information to IRCC voluntarily. Some disclosures will not result in an inspection. IRCC will determine if the information received is relevant and credible and assess the severity of the possible violation. IRCC will then determine if an inspection is necessary.


For a disclosure to be accepted by the officer, the disclosure must be complete. When the disclosure is made, the employer must not already be the subject of an IMP inspection or any other enforcement action related to an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.


If an inspection is conducted following a voluntary disclosure, and the employer is found non-compliant, the penalty may be reduced or removed entirely. IRCC will evaluate several variables in such circumstances to see if the firm qualifies for a reduced fine, including:

  • the completeness of the information disclosed;

  • whether the disclosure is genuinely voluntary (i.e. the employer is not already the subject of an inspection or enforcement action);

  • the severity of the impact of the violation on the foreign worker;

  • the severity of the impact of the violation on Canadian workers or the Canadian economy;

  • the timeliness of the disclosure; and

  • the employer's history of voluntary disclosures.

Employers who are non-compliant with the International Mobility Program may face a variety of consequences, including monetary penalties, bans, and work permit applications being refused or revoked. However, employers who voluntarily disclose information about possible non-compliance before an inspection is initiated may receive reduced penalties or have the charges entirely removed. It is important for employers to be aware of the conditions of the program and take necessary actions to become compliant.


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