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International Mobility Program: Employer Compliance

Canadian employers have certain responsibilities when hiring foreign workers through the International Mobility Program.

Employer Responsibilities

The employer must:

1) Arrange for workers’ compensation benefits and medical coverage when the worker arrives in Canada, as required by the province or territory;

2) Make sure that the worker has the necessary work permit (the Social Insurance Number [SIN] that a temporary worker is given is not proof that he or she has a valid work permit);

3) With the conditions and time limits outlined in the worker’s work permit (employers are legally responsible for ensuring that these conditions are met;

4) Remain actively engaged in the business that submitted the offer of employment for as long as the worker is employed;

5) With all federal, provincial and territorial employment laws, including laws about recruiting workers;

6) Provide the worker with a job in the same occupation that was listed in the offer of employment;

7) Provide the worker with wages and working conditions that meet or are better than those listed in the offer of employment;

8) Make reasonable efforts to provide a workplace that is free of physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse;

9) Keep any documentation related to the hiring and employment of the worker for a period of six years after the work permit is issued; and attend any inspection and provide all requested documentation or information.


Employers may be subject to an inspection by an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer or an Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada officer acting on behalf of IRCC. The purpose of an inspection is to make sure the employer continues to satisfy the conditions set out above, thereby ensuring that workers are not mistreated and ensuring that the International Mobility Program is being used as intended.

There are three reasons an employer could be selected for an inspection:

1) There is reason to suspect non-compliance; 2) The employer has been found non-compliant in the past; or 3) The employer has been selected randomly.

If selected for an inspection, the employer must:

1) Report at the specified time and location to answer questions; 2) Provide requested documents as indicated in the letter received; and attend any on-site inspections, when requested. 3) During an inspection, an officer may also enter and inspect any place in which a foreign national performs work and interview any foreign or Canadian workers at the worksite.

Final decision

Employers who are found to be non-compliant will receive a letter that explains the violation and the resulting penalties (outlined below). From this point, the employer will have 30 days to respond in writing with additional information regarding the violation, the resulting penalties, or both. This may include justification for non-compliance, as well as 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 initial 30 days for responding. Extension requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If the final decision is a finding of non-compliance, the employer will receive a final notice, which includes information about the condition(s) violated, how the employer failed to comply, the reason(s) for the decision, the penalties and next steps to take.

Justification for non-compliance

In some cases, non-compliance may be justified. Violations may be justified if they are the result of: a change in federal or provincial law; a change to the provisions of a collective agreement; a major change in economic conditions that directly affects 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 (ie. natural disaster); and other similar situations. During an inspection, and before a final decision of non-compliance is made, the employer should submit information and supporting evidence that explains how the non-compliance is justified to IRCC. If the officer finds the justification acceptable, the employer may avoid being found non-compliant.

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