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Criminal Inadmissibility, Employer Compliance, Immigration

How the fight against human trafficking could effect all businesses that hire foriegn workers

Last week, the federal government announced these new measures to fight human trafficking: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/le/ht-tp-eng.aspx. This is a welcome announcement that will help protect vulnerable children and adults from sexual exploitation and labour exploitation. In many cases, exploited individuals are temporary foreign workers who are victims of criminal gangs or individuals. While the announcement of these new measures is welcome, legitimate businesses should be prepared for the proposed changes to the law to make sure they remain on-side.

The overarching initiative to fight human trafficking should go a long way to protecting vulnerable immigrants, temporary foreign workers, and Canadians from exploitation. The initiative includes numerous strategies to geared towards prevention and protection of victims. The initiative also calls for increased domestic and international partnerships to fight this problem.

For employers, amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations will be created to give the federal government greater authority to monitor employer compliance with immigration program requirements. As well as stronger consequences in cases of non-compliance will be introduced. (See this link: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/le/cmbt-trffkng-eng.aspx)

While there is no sense that this initiative is being designed as a tool to go after legitimate employers, the potential exploitation of foreign workers may be an issue of concern to Canadian employers. Employers should be vigilant as to the source of their foreign employees. It may be important for legitimate businesses to exercise greater vigilance to ensure that their employees were not exploited in the job placement process that led to them working in Canada.

The government has also said that it will implement measures to improve the protection of vulnerable foreign nationals and improve internal detection and prevention protocols to identify high-risk employers and explore policy development for on-site employer visits. Again, the vast majority of employers will not be affected by these measures. However, once these measures are in place, a review of employer procedures may be useful.

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About Reis Pagtakhan

Reis Pagtakhan is an immigration law partner with MLT Aikins LLP. His extensive experience includes assisting businesses obtain temporary entry to Canada and permanent residency for their executives, employees and contractors from all over the world. Reis has lectured on and written papers on immigration law for the Law Society of Manitoba, the Manitoba Bar Association, the Human Resources Management Association of Manitoba, the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, and the Community Legal Education Association of Manitoba. He has presented position papers before the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Immigration Department officials and Manitoba Labour and Immigration. He has written articles on immigration for the CBC, the Winnipeg Free Press, trade, industry and ethnic publications.

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