POLITICS

Alberta toughens rules for employment agencies to protect workers

03/08/2012 12:09 EST | Updated 05/08/2012 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - The Alberta government is bringing in tougher rules for employment agencies to better protect job seekers — especially temporary foreign workers.

The province's strong economy is a magnet for laborers from other parts of Canada and from outside the country.

Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar (BULL'-ahr) says those people are sometimes taken advantage of in their eagerness to find jobs.

Regulations already prohibit agencies from charging a fee for finding someone work.

Bhullar says the rules will be amended to make it illegal for businesses to require workers to pay a performance bond or lie to Canadian officials.

Agencies also will be required to keep full records of their recruiting activities and register with the government.

Other changes include making it against the law to mislead foreign workers about their chances of becoming Canadian citizens.

The changes are to come into effect Sept. 1.

Violators could have their licences suspended or cancelled. They will also face prosecution under the Fair Trading Act with maximum penalties of a $100,000 fine and up to two years in jail.

The government says it consulted with employment and community agencies, labour organizations, immigration lawyers, employers and consumers on the changes.