Employers must make sure their temporary foreign workers (TFWs) can isolate upon their arrival, as required by law.
Since March 24, it has become mandatory for all travellers to isolate for 14 days when they arrive in Canada.
This measure was put in place in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and it targets all travellers, including Canadian citizens and temporary foreign workers (TFWs). However, in the case of TFWs, employers are responsible for coming up with and enforcing an isolation plan.
Let’s take a look at what you must do to enforce the isolation measures in place for TFWs and some practical tips to help make sure you meet all government requirements.
- Provide support for your TFWs as soon as they arrive in the country.
- Organize transportation for your TFWs from the airport to where they will be quarantined.
- TFWs must wear a mask or a face covering inside the vehicle—they cannot stop along the way.
- It is recommended that TFWs be divided into small groups to comply with the two-metre distancing rule.
- The TFWs’ quarantine location must be in the area where they will be working.
- They must each have their own bed and cannot be more than two in a room, unless the two-metre distancing rule can be respected.
- Employees must be able to observe social distancing rules in common areas (kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms). Ideally, they should take turns using the common areas to avoid personal contact.
- All rooms must be disinfected daily and, ideally, TWICE a day. Employers must provide all cleaning supplies (soap, cleaning products, alcohol-based solutions).
- Public health recommendations must be posted in every room, preferably in the workers’ language.
- TFWs must be able to go outside at their isolation location while staying two metres apart from one another.
During the 14-day quarantine period, TFWs are not allowed to work but they should be paid according to the conditions specified on the employer’s Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and their offer of employment. Throughout this period, employers are responsible for providing their TFWs with:
- Personal care products
- Laundry services
- Means of communication with the outside world (Internet, phone, cell phone)
This must all be done without the workers leaving their quarantine location. They must also have access to leisure to keep themselves busy and help protect their mental health (TV, radio, board games).
Employers must monitor the health of their TFWs and watch for any symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, difficulty breathing). If a TFW develops any of those symptoms, they must follow a more severe isolation protocol (see publications from the Ministère de la Santé et Services sociaux available here).
- Communicate with your TFWs before their arrival and inform them of your quarantine plan and the company’s health and hygiene protocol. This will help avoid any surprises and your employees will know what to expect.
- Give a copy of the plan to each of your TFWs. They must show it to a border agent upon their arrival or they won’t be authorized to enter Canada.
- Make sure your TFWs have a mask or a face covering before their departure. All travellers on Canada-bound flights are required to wear a mask or a face covering on board and your employees will also need one when travelling from the airport to their workplace.
Due to circumstances beyond your control, your TFWs’ arrival may be delayed by a few days. Make sure they got on their flight before stocking up on food and other perishables to avoid any waste.
Employers that violate the new isolation rules may face some serious consequences, including having all of their LMIAs revoked, being permanently banned from hiring TFWs, and fines of up to $1 million. TFWs may face penalties of up to $750,000 and six months in prison for violating the isolation requirements.