The Labour Standards Code applies to most employees working in Nova Scotia, including foreign workers. Foreign workers are workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
In 2011, the following new rules were added to the Code to improve protections for foreign workers:
- If you are an employer of a foreign worker, you cannot reduce or eliminate the terms or conditions (e.g., wages, hours of work) of a foreign worker’s employment, regardless of whether the worker agrees to the change. There are narrow exceptions to this rule.
- If you are an employer or a recruiter, you cannot take or keep a foreign worker’s property, e.g., a foreign worker’s passport or work permit.
- If you are an employer or a recruiter, you cannot charge a worker, directly or indirectly, fees for assisting in finding the worker employment. This rule applies to all workers (i.e., both foreign workers and workers who are not foreign workers).
- If you are an employer or a recruiter, you will need to keep all records relating to employment and recruitment of employees for three years after the work has been done. This rule applies to all workers (i.e., both foreign workers and workers who are not foreign workers).
- Recruiters of foreign workers must hold a recruiter licence from Labour Standards to provide recruitment services. Note: employers who do their own recruitment work do not need a recruiter licence.
- Employers who want to use a foreign worker recruiter must use a licensed recruiter.
- Employers need an employer registration certificate from Labour Standards to recruit and hire foreign workers. Service Canada will need to see the employer registration certificate from Nova Scotia Labour Standards as part of the process for applying for a Labour Market Opinion.
You can learn more about these changes by contacting Labour Standards. Please visit the Foreign Workers website frequently as we will be updating it regularly.