The Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act (Live-in Caregivers and Others), 2009 came into force on March 22, 2010. That legislation applied only to foreign nationals who were employed or seeking employment as live-in caregivers in Ontario. The legislation was amended and renamed the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009 effective November 20, 2015. The change in the legislation expanded the application to all foreign nationals who are employed or seeking employment in Ontario pursuant to an immigration or foreign temporary employee program.
The EPFNA is enforced by the Ministry of Labour's Employment Standards Officers.
The EPFNA applies to foreign nationals who work or are seeking work in Ontario pursuant to an immigration or foreign temporary employee program (foreign nationals), to employers of foreign nationals working in Ontario pursuant to an immigration or temporary employee program (employers), to persons who act as recruiters in connection with the employment of foreign nationals in Ontario pursuant to an immigration or foreign temporary employee program (recruiters), and to persons acting on behalf of these employers or recruiters. See 'Definitions' section.
Yes, the ESA generally applies to all employees working in Ontario, including foreign nationals. The ESA is a law that sets minimum standards in most Ontario workplaces, such as hours of work, public holidays, and termination and severance. Special rules and exemptions apply to certain employees. For more information, visit Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
Where a provision in an employment contract or collective agreement gives an employee a greater right or benefit than the minimum standard under the ESA, then that provision applies.
No. A foreign national cannot agree or sign a contract with a recruiter, employer or anyone acting for a recruiter or an employer, to give up any rights under the EPFNA or the ESA. Any such agreement is invalid. For example, if a foreign national signs a contract allowing a recruiter to charge a recruitment fee, the agreement would be invalid.
If you are covered by the EPFNA and you want to make a complaint, you can download a claim form or file a claim online. You can also obtain a hardcopy from ServiceOntario Publications online or by calling 1-800-668-9938; Hearing Impaired TTY 1-800-268-7095.
Please note the EPFNA has its own claim form distinct from that which is used for ESA claims.
Yes, you can file a claim within three and one half (3.5) years from the date the violation occurred.
Under the EPFNA, a person is considered to be acting as a recruiter:
Under the EPFNA, a foreign national is someone who is not:
A recruiter (or a person acting on his or her behalf) cannot charge a foreign national any fees for any service, good or benefit provided to the foreign national. For example, a recruiter cannot charge a fee for getting a job, for the Labour Market Impact Assessment or anything else required for the foreign national to begin work in Ontario.
Generally, the EPFNA prohibits employers from recovering, directly or indirectly, recruitment fees or any other costs they incurred in connection with becoming or attempting to become an employer of the foreign national. For example, the employer cannot recover the fee it paid to a recruiter for the placement of a foreign national. However, there is one exception to this general rule: as of November 26, 2015, employers who employ foreign nationals under the federal government’s “Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program” (SAWP) can recover the costs of air travel and of work permits if the deductions are allowed under the SAWP employment contract.
No. A recruiter, employer (or a person acting on their behalf) cannot take or keep property, including a passport or work permit, of a foreign national.
Recruiters are required to provide the latest version of information documents published by the Ministry of Labour to prospective foreign national employees as soon as possible after making first contact. If the Director of Employment Standards has published different documents for different categories of foreign nationals, the relevant documents must be provided.
If the foreign national’s first language is not English, the recruiter must find out if the information sheet is available in that language, and if so, the recruiter must supply both the English version and the translated document. These information sheets are available at the EPFNA site.
If an employer has hired a foreign national without the use of a recruiter, the employer is responsible for providing the documents described above before the employment commences.
If the foreign national was already working for the employer when the expanded EPFNA came into force (November 20, 2015), the employer must provide the relevant documents to the foreign national.
There are two information sheets that must be provided to foreign nationals:
A recruiter is required to record:
An employer is required to record:
Note that an employer also has record keeping obligations in the ESA.
Yes. A recruiter, an employer, or a person who acts on their behalf is prohibited from intimidating or penalizing a foreign national because the foreign national:
Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help you understand some of the minimum rights and obligations established under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009 (EPFNA). It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the ESA, EPFNA or their regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation. Although we endeavor to ensure that the information in this resource is as current and accurate as possible, errors do occasionally occur. The ESA provides minimum standards only. Some employees may have greater rights under an employment contract, collective agreement, the common law or other legislation. You may wish to obtain legal advice.