POLITICS

Jason Kenney eyes harsher penalties for foreign worker abuse

09/25/2014 09:30 EDT | Updated 11/25/2014 05:59 EST
Employment Minister Jason Kenney is eyeing even stricter penalties for employers who abuse the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

A discussion paper posted online Wednesday evening proposes stricter fines and a lifetime ban on serious offenders. Currently, the longest ban on employers found abusing the program is two years.

The changes would be made through regulation and would not require legislation in Parliament. 

The proposals come after an overhaul of the temporary foreign worker program last spring, which placed caps on the number of low-wage workers a company could hire and increased some fines and fees.

The discussion paper goes further, suggesting a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum of $100,000 for serious violations. 

"Penalty amounts would vary based on whether the employer is an individual or small business, or a large business or corporation, as well as the employer’s compliance history and the severity of the violation," according to the paper.

The proposals also include making offenders' names available on a public black list, and one, five and 10-year moratoriums on using the program. 

The government is now soliciting feedback on the possible changes from individuals and organizations.