Comments on the Discussion Paper regarding licensing of recruiters and employers pursuant to the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act – Short version

The Department of Labour and Advanced Education has asked for comments on the Discussion Paper dated January 16, 2012.

http://www.gov.ns.ca/lae/employmentrights/docs/DiscussionPaperRegsForeignWorkers.pdf

 

Context

Some temporary foreign workers are vulnerable and prone to abuse and disadvantage by unethical recruiters and employers.

 

Comments:

  1. Everyone but Labour Market Opinion (LMO)-based workers are excluded from this new law. That means unlicensed agents will continue to operate in all areas except LMOs. SUGGESTIONS: A better way to streamline this law would be to have it apply to all employer-specific work permits for Skill Levels C and D and any of the other low-skill programs such as Seasonal Agriculture Workers and Live In Caregivers. This would be consistent with Service Canada’s rules about temporary foreign workers in those categories.

  2. Under the new rules any employer wanting to obtain a labour market opinion in order to hire a temporary foreign  worker will have to be registered with the provincial regulator. Details of the registration process are vague at this point, but we know it will include paying a fee, and submitting company, workforce and financial information. SUGGESTIONS: Why do employers need to register, especially if they are complying with Service Canada’s LMO rules? If they must register, there should be no cost to the employer and an effort should be made to make registration and renewal as simple as possible. Employers should only be required to disclose very general information.  If the new rules are limited only to LMO-based workers, all specific information required of an employer will be provided on the LMO application anyway.

  3. Some aspects of the new rules, including the licensing regimen are problematic for lawyers and consultants who are bound by their own sets of professional and ethical rules and governance. There is potential for the two sets of rules to collide. SUGGESTIONS: These new rules should not (1) require a lawyer to breach solicitor-client privilege (i.e. by disclosing confidential information about a client to the new licensing body); (2) require a lawyer to provide financial or trust account information about specific clients; or (3) conflict in any way with the rules of professional conduct imposed on lawyers by their governing body. At minimum, the new rules should be interpreted and enforced in a manner that is consistent with the professional regulations licensees are bound by.