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Advice to HR professionals on temporary foreign workers

Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program continues to gain media attention, as the food service industry has now been suspended from using the program. A recent scandal, which arose out of complaints about the hiring practices of a McDonald’s franchisee, led Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney to call for an investigation into the way the Temporary Foreign Worker program is used by industries like food services.


The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)  took their own look at the Temporary Foreign Worker scandal, as Jason Kenney assured Canadians his government would be taking serious action against anyone found to abusing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

“Canadians must always be first in line for available jobs,” Kenney said, as a follow-up to a his statement released on April 24, SHRM reports. “Our government will take action against employers who abuse the temporary foreign worker program. [E]mployers who break the rules will be publicly named and face serious consequences.”

An opinion popular among some Canadian business owners  is that temporary foreign workers have a better work ethic, and work harder than many Canadian employee, reports SHRM.

However, Cissy Pau disagrees with the assertion the foreign workers make better employees.

“Non-foreign workers can also work hard,” the Vancouver-based human resources consultant told SHRM. “The federal government provides plenty of tools for those [in Canada] legally to enter the job market. You don’t have to be a foreign worker to have a strong work ethic.”

Pau also recommended human resources practitioners speak with an immigration lawyer so they can be aware of what’s needed during the complex and rigorous process of hiring a foreign worker.

Alex Stojicevic of MKS Immigration Lawyers in Vancouver, provided SHRM with his professional advice for businesses considering using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Because of the many rigid regulations already involved with the program, Alex suggests employers use it as a last resort.

However, if companies do decide to pursue a the hiring of temporary foreign workers, Alex Stojicevic advised that employers ensure federal regulatory compliance by retaining the following information on workers from outside the country:

• Resumes on file for a minimum of two years.

• Copies of advertisements used for recruitment purposes.

• Payroll records and time sheets.

• Job descriptions.

• Copies of work permits issued to a foreign worker.

• Registration with all applicable provincial/territorial workplace safety organizations.

As the world’s largest human resources membership organization, the Society for Human Resource Management represents more than a quarter million members in over 160 countries. SHRM strives to serve the need of human resource professional worldwide, as well as advance the practice of human resource management.