Canada: Employers Report Increase in Compliance Audits
In recent days, employers have reported receiving more compliance audit requests from Service Canada, the country’s labor authority. The audits, known as Substantially the Same Assessments, seek to ensure that employers are complying with their obligations with regard to foreign employees sponsored for work permits.
In recent days, employers have reported receiving more compliance audit requests from Service Canada, the country’s labor authority. The audits, known as Substantially the Same (STS) Assessments, seek to ensure that employers are meeting their obligations with regard to foreign employees sponsored for work permits.
For several years, Service Canada has had the authority to audit employers who have sponsored foreign nationals for work permits in positions that require labor market opinions (LMOs). Service Canada uses the audits to verify that foreign workers’ wages, working conditions and job duties are substantially the same as the terms and conditions of the job offer listed in their LMO approval notification.
When issuing an STS Assessment request, Service Canada typically asks employers for a copy of each foreign employee’s work permit, first three and three most recent Canadian paystubs and, if the worker has left the company, full employment records. However, Service Canada can request other relevant documents as it deems necessary to ensure that an employer is complying with LMO obligations.
If Service Canada finds that an employer is not meeting its obligations with regard to wages, working conditions or job duties, the employer will have the opportunity to provide a rationale for the inconsistency and undertake corrective actions.
What This Means for Employers
Organizations that sponsor foreign national employees for work permits requiring labor market opinions should always be prepared for the possibility of an STS Assessment, and they should proactively maintain detailed records for each foreign employee covered by an LMO. In addition to the documents on the standard STS Assessment list, and as a best practice, employers should also be prepared to provide copies of employment contracts, timesheets, job descriptions, and proof of workplace insurance policies if requested during an audit.
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Global or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.