Canada Bans Foreign Sex Workers and Increases Oversight Of Foreign Workers

Canadian LandingThe Canadian government is banning employers from hiring foreign workers in industries it deems as “sex trades”—including strippers and escorts—and is increasing tightening regulations on employers of all foreign workers.

Changes made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) mean that Canadian employers looking to hire temporary foreign workers will have to meet new, stricter criteria to receive a Labour Market Opinion (LMO), a document that’s required to confirm the need for a foreign worker to fill a position.

Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) that took effect on December 31, 2013 include:

  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the government body overseeing the hiring of foreign workers, no longer provides an LMO for companies looking to hire foreign workers to perform “striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.” ESDC says this move is being done to protect foreign workers from any possible abuse.
  • As of 2014, ESDC also has the authority to conduct inspections for six years from the start date of a foreign worker’s employment, to make sure that employers are complying with all IRPR regulations. These inspections may include interviews with the foreign workers, as well as on-site inspections without a warrant, as long as the premises are not considered a private dwelling.
  • Amendments to the IRPR also means Canadian employers will be required to retain compliance documents related to the hiring of foreign workers for six years from the start of the worker’s employment. The IRPR changes also require employers to make “reasonable efforts” to ensure that workplace environments are free of abuse.

With these changes, employers are also now required to hire or train—or “make reasonable efforts to hire and train”—Canadians or permanent residents, if that was one of the reasons cited for the need to issue the permit to hire a foreign worker.

Employers undergoing inspection will be required to provide documentation proving their compliance. If they’re found to not be in compliance, employers will have an opportunity to justify their situation and take corrective action prior to a final decision by federal officials.

Penalties for employers found to be in non-compliance will be fairly strict, including a ban from hiring foreign workers for two years, a public listing of the company’s name on an ineligible hiring list, as well as the issuance of negative LMOs on any pending applications.  “Non-complying” employers may also face revocation of previously issued LMOs.