Are you bringing a work permit holder into Canada during the Quarantine Act? The government may inspect your company.

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As anyone who brings in foreign nationals on work permits knows, employer compliance inspections are possible from time to time under the rules of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

An inspection may be initiated from the first day of employment for which a work permit is issued up to a maximum of 6 years thereafter. Authorities are generally checking to see if the conditions of employment still match those listed in the work permit application – is the foreign national being paid the same, performing the same functions, etc.

These are moderately rare occurrences.

But they are occurring more frequently during COVID.

Now they are looking to see if brand new conditions are being met by the employer under the Emergencies Act and Quarantine Act.
• Is the employer doing anything to prevent the foreign national from complying with requirements under the Emergencies Act or the Quarantine Act, or requiring the foreign national to do anything that is contrary to the two acts. This could be, for instance, having them come into the office before the 14 day isolation period is complete.
• Is the employer doing anything to prevent the foreign national from complying with requirements under any provincial laws that regulates public health in response to COVID-19

Pssst. The next is the big one – and it is a bit of problem

• Retention of wages during self-isolation or quarantine: “Subparagraph R209.2(1)(a)(vii) requires employers to provide the wages as set out in the offer of employment during any period of self-isolation or quarantine upon entry to Canada as required by an order made under section 58 of the Quarantine Act.”
As mentioned, previously an inspection can occur from the first day a work permit is issued. However, as All Points has previously reported
(10 – 20 days is a standard turnaround time for a mail-in application, it can take a long time now to get one’s Social Insurance Number, and the employer cannot put the foreign national on payroll without a Social Insurance Number. So the employer (if the foreign national is indeed switching to Canadian payroll) cannot advise the inspector that the employee is being paid during the self-isolation period.

If an inspector is advised that Service Canada offices are not open, but every effort has been made to get the foreign national his/her social insurance number, the inspector will give the company more time to comply.  But they will only be so patient.

Are inspections increasing as a percent of the whole?

It is hard to tell, but anecdotally it seems so. There are fewer new arrivals to check on, so it would make sense that a greater percentage of those foreign nationals would be inspected.  The urgency with which the government is taking its response to COVID-19, also would suggest that authorities are more inclined to check up on employers.

All Points Recommendation

All Points has previously recommended a Self-Isolation Template for any foreign national coming to Canada, whether essential worker or not. All Points now recommends that employees be immediately walked through the mail-in application, and someone (a smiling All Points’ employee?) pick up the application and put it in the mail.  The date that the application was mailed should be noted, so it can be given to the inspector, when the inspector calls.

For more information please see the Government of Canada’s website.

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