The Labour Standards Code provides rules about employment rights, e.g., rules about vacation pay, holiday pay and minimum wage. It also includes rules that protect foreign workers. This fact sheet answers your questions about the rules that protect foreign workers. Please refer frequently to this fact sheet for current updates. For more information on any part of the Labour Standards Code, please contact our office.
The foreign worker provisions apply to foreign workers who are defined under the Labour Standards Code as “individuals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents within the meaning of the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)” and who are recruited to become employed in Nova Scotia. If you have any questions about who is covered by the foreign worker rules, please contact Labour Standards.
Yes. The Labour Standards Code generally applies to most employees in Nova Scotia, including foreign workers.
No. It is against the law to directly or indirectly charge a fee to or collect a fee from a person for assistance in finding the person work. This provision applies to all workers in Nova Scotia including foreign workers.
No. It is against the law for an employer to recover, directly or indirectly, any costs of recruitment from an employee’s pay. This provision applies to all employees in Nova Scotia including foreign workers.
In most circumstances, employers must deduct CPP, EI and income tax from a foreign worker’s pay. There are strict rules about what other deductions an employer can make from pay. Please see the fact sheet Deductions from Pay for information about which deductions are lawful and which deductions are unlawful. For specific information on CPP, EI and income tax deductions, contact Canada Revenue Agency.
Generally, no. However, there are very limited circumstances where a change in pay or benefits can be made. Please refer to clause 2 (11A) of the General Labour Standards Code Regulations or contact Labour Standards.
No. A foreign worker cannot agree to a reduction in his/her wages unless the reduction is permitted by Labour Standards legislation. Any agreement to an unlawful reduction is considered void. There are narrow exceptions to this rule.
An employer can end the employment of an employee, including a foreign worker, by following the provisions of the Labour Standards Code for terminating an employee’s employment. Also, the employer must notify Service Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada of the end of the employment. Please see the fact sheet When the Employer Ends the Employment for more details on ending employment.
No. An employer does not have the authority to deport a foreign worker from Canada. If you have any questions about deportation, please contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
No. An employer cannot take or keep any property of a foreign worker, including his/her passport and work permit. Employers should be aware that taking and keeping a foreign worker’s travel documents could raise concerns regarding human trafficking and result in RCMP involvement in the situation. For more information on human trafficking please visit the RCMP website.
No. A recruiter cannot take or keep any property of a foreign worker, including his/her passport and work permit. Recruiters should be aware that taking and keeping a foreign worker’s travel documents could raise concerns regarding human trafficking and result in RCMP involvement in the situation. For more information on human trafficking please visit the RCMP website.
According to the RCMP's website, human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation or harbouring of persons for the purpose of exploitation (typically in the sex industry or for forced labour). Human trafficking is a serious crime. There are protections under Canadian Law. You can find information on human trafficking by contacting the RCMP or by visiting the RCMP website. If you suspect human trafficking activity is occurring, contact your local police at 911 or contact the Crime Stoppers Program at 1-800-222-8477.
Recruiters of foreign workers need a recruiter licence from Labour Standards to help foreign workers find a job in Nova Scotia and to help employers in Nova Scotia find foreign workers, unless the recruiter falls within one of the exceptions listed in the next question. A list of all licensed recruiters for Nova Scotia is posted on our website.
Yes. The following people do not have to hold a recruiter licence: 1) a person who is engaged in recruiting a foreign worker for employment with that person, 2) a staff member of an employer who is engaged in foreign worker recruitment for that employer, 2) a person who, without receiving a fee directly or indirectly, assists a foreign worker who is a relative to find employment, and 4) a department or agency of the government or a municipality.
Please visit our website where you will find up-to-date information on Labour Standards in Nova Scotia, including: changes to the Code, FAQs and the Guide to the Labour Standards Code. You can also contact our office.
If you want to make a complaint but you don’t want to give us your name, talk to us about it. You may be able to file an anonymous or confidential complaint. We can explain what we can and cannot do without your name. Some complaints cannot be pursued on a confidential basis.
Labour Standards maintains a public registry of licensed recruiters on our website. The only licensed recruiters in Nova Scotia are those that are listed in this registry.
Employers using a third party recruiter to help them recruit foreign workers are required to use a licensed recruiter, unless the third party falls within one of the exceptions listed under "Do I need a recruiter licence to recruit a foreign worker?"
Please visit our foreign worker related sites page for contact information for other departments and agencies.
Yes. Both ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia) and the YMCA provide support to temporary foreign workers through their Temporary Foreign Worker Support Program. ISANS provides support to temporary foreign workers in the Halifax area and YMCA provides support in Pictou and surrounding area.
The Federal Government is responsible for the program that allows foreign workers to be hired here in Canada. Please contact Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada for information.
|Phone:||902-424-4311; or toll free in Nova Scotia 1-888-315-0110|
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