Canada immigration news: Quebec immigration Minister Jean Boulet says inspections to ensure the health and safety of temporary foreign workers are to be expanded throughout the province in the coming year.
“Temporary foreign workers no longer work only in agriculture. With the relaxation of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the government of Quebec needed to improve the health and safety resources available to temporary foreign workers and their employers,” said Boulet.
“Deploying this squad (of health and safety inspectors) will raise awareness in workplaces about the rights and obligations of workers and their employers.”
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Under the province’s latest initiative, its health and safety commission, the Commission des Normes, de l’Équité, de la Santé et de la Sécurité du Travail (CNESST), is also going to offer consulting services to the employers of temporary foreign workers to help them meet their obligations.
Workplace Inspectors Until Now Limited To Agricultural Sector
“Temporary foreign workers are important to help meet the challenges posed by the labour shortages and so it is vital that all efforts be made to ensure they are being well treated,” said Boulet.
Quebec has had a squad of workplace health and safety inspectors for temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector for the last three years, since 2019, because they then comprised the lion’s share of temporary foreign workers in the province.
That program, though, was seasonal.
Under the expanded version of the program, the new squad of health and safety inspectors, which will be fully operational by next spring, will offer services throughout the year to several additional sectors in addition to agriculture, including:
- food processing, and;
Quebec sees temporary foreign workers being at least a partial fix for its massive labour shortages.
Squad to Help Make TFWs Aware of Their Rights
Many of these foreign nationals, though, are largely unaware of their rights and responsibilities under Quebec’s labour laws and the businesses and non-profits that employ them have to be held accountable for providing the right working conditions and for meeting the province’s employment standards.
The expanded squad of public health and safety inspectors will operate on two fronts. These inspectors will hold free information sessions, including some in Spanish, about health and safety standards in the workplace for temporary foreign workers and their employers in these regions of the province, the:
- Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec;
- Laurentides, and;
The inspectors will also offer personalized consulting to employers to help them understand their responsibilities towards temporary foreign workers.
“Temporary foreign workers are vital to the biofood sector. They contribute to the economic growth of Quebec businesses,” said provincial Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister André Lamontagne.
“I invite all of our producers, our processing plants and fishers to use all of the tools made available to them by this squad and add their efforts in workplace safety to those of our government so that our temporary foreign workers can do their jobs with dignity.”