Government agencies clarify roles in foreign farmworkers program

Labour rules for foreign farmworkers the same as for those of Canadian citizens


Johanne Nadeau, Public Relations  representative with Citizenship and Immigration Canada  (CIC) passed on these comments with regards to agricultural workers in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) role is to ensure that each worker is admissible to Canada and that they meet the criteria for a work permit.  Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), however, is primarily responsible for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream under the Pilot Project for Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training. For more details, please contact HRSDC (819-994-5559, or

In general, though, temporary foreign workers, including agricultural workers, have access to the same recourse mechanisms as Canadian workers when it comes to labour and employment standards.

Provinces and territories have primary responsibility for enforcement of labour standards and have offices that can assist all workers regarding fair pay, hours of work, rest periods and general working conditions. Workers should contact the appropriate authority in the province or territory they work in if they have concerns (

To complement existing provincial/territorial authorities and their responsibility for labour and employment matters, the Government of Canada adopted new regulations in April that grant more authority for officers to review the actions of employers participating in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. These improvements help us identify non-compliant employers without being overly onerous on the large majority of employers who have the best interests of their employees at heart.

Better oversight will go further to ensure that all TFWs, including agricultural workers, come to Canada to work genuine jobs, and minimize the chance that they will be exploited, mistreated or abused. When wrongdoing is discovered, these changes give the Government of Canada the authority to deny employers the right to hire TFWs, where warranted, and to have them take corrective action.

The Human Resources and Skill Development ministry is also involved in administering the temporary foreign workers program. In response to queries from the Review regarding worker treatment and working conditions, the ministry had this to say:

“The Canada Labour Code applies to federally regulated industries including interprovincial and international transportation, chartered banks, telecommunications, the grain industry, most Crown Corporations, and certain activities undertaken by First Nations.  All other industrial activities fall under provincial jurisdiction.

Part III of the code offers basic labour standards protection for all federally regulated employees, including temporary foreign workers, pertaining to the conditions of work to which every employee is entitled such as, but not limited to, hours of work, minimum wage, vacation, payment of wage, overtime, general holidays, protected leaves and notice of termination and severance pay.

Additional information on federal employment standards is available at the Labour Program website:

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) have access to the same recourse mechanisms as Canadian citizens and permanent residents under applicable federal/provincial/territorial labour and employment standards, as well as collective agreements.

In most cases, provinces and territories are responsible for the enforcement of labour standards, and have offices to assist workers regarding fair pay, hours of work, rest periods and general working conditions.

TFWs should first contact the appropriate authority in the province or territory they work in if they have concerns about their working conditions.”


In the Similkameen, foreign workers should contact the following provincial ministry with any work related issues or concerns:

British Columbia Ministry of Labour and Citizens’ Services


Employment Standards Branch

Toll free: 1 800 663-3316

Outside British Columbia: (250) 612-4100





Just Posted

Keremeos man says stem cell therapy changed his life

Darryl Brewer says he went from being immobile with chronic pain to leading an active lifestyle

Penticton resident’s dog allegedly stolen from construction site

Nicholas Bozak is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Askem, his 17 month old mastiff chow

Experience the music at the 97 South Song Sessions in Penticton

Songwriters Tim Nichols, Jimmy Yeary, Jessica Mitchell and Bob DiPiero to perform intimate concert

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: cloudy, showers expected

Environment Canada is predicting a mix of sun and clouds tomorrow and a sunny weekend across the Okanagan

Okanagan society sends seniors, shut-ins on boat excursions

Okanagan Quality Life Society has been providing Okanagan Lake boat rides for nearly 30 years

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

Luxury home auction kicks off in Lake Country

Questions circle around how an unreserved auction will work

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Lightning strike sparks fire outside Kelowna

BC Wildfire is reporting a small blaze off Highway 33

RDOS construction activity shows increase

264 permits, worth nearly $26M, have been issued in first half of 2019

Snowbirds touch down in the South Okanagan

Canadian Forces Snowbirds make pit stop in Penticton

Most Read