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Nova Scotia issues "Discussion Paper on Regulations for Recruiters and Employers of Foreign Workers"

Jurisdiction: - Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education issued a "Discussion Paper on Regulations for Recruiters and Employers of Foreign Workers" on January 16, 2012.

The Introduction of the paper states:

In June 2010, the government conducted a broad consultation on the employment of foreign workers (FWs) in Nova Scotia. Following the consultation, on May 19, 2011, the Government passed the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act, which amends the Labour Standards Code. Included among the amendments to the Code is a prohibition against charging workers (both FWs and non FWs) recruitment fees and a prohibition against recovering recruitment costs from workers. These prohibitions are now in force.

Amendments specific to FWs include a registration system for individuals and companies who wish to employ FWs and a licensing regime for individuals and companies who wish to provide FW related recruitment services in Nova Scotia. These amendments are not yet in force. We plan to have these proclaimed in force once the regulations that are the subject of this discussion paper are finalized.

The amendments also include provisions prohibiting employers from eliminating or reducing a FW's wages, benefits and other terms or conditions of employment and prohibiting the taking and retention of a FW's property (e.g., passport and work permit). These are now in force.

FWs are increasingly an important part of the Nova Scotia economy. As Nova Scotia strives to increase immigration, they are also a source of potential immigrants. Some of the workers are vulnerable because they are not familiar with Canadian and Nova Scotian employment rules, may face language barriers, may be socially isolated and dependent on their employer, etc. Also, FWs are particularly vulnerable to being charged illegal recruitment fees. These amendments will help to ensure that this group of vulnerable workers will be treated fairly when they work in Nova Scotia.

The government is preparing to introduce regulations on the changes to the Code. Below is information about the proposed regulations. You are invited to review the information and provide feedback. Information about how to submit your comments is at the end of this document.