The IRCC Minister released new policy guidelines to support and assist in providing directions to those who may qualify for the vulnerable open work permit as per s. 207.1 of the IRPR (Immigration & Refugee Protection Regulations). This special work permit is for applicants who have experienced “abuse”. Abuse is defined in four major categories:
- Physical abuse – involves some form of physical contact to the person or it could include intimidation as well as confining someone to a room
- Sexual abuse – unwanted sexual contact as well as threats
- Psychological abuse – pattern of coercive or controlling behaviour over a person
- Financial abuse – where one person has control over another person’s access to financial resources. For instance, processing a labour market impact assessment to obtain a job offer for a person wherein the job offer itself is fake and there is no legitimate means of earning a lawful wage.
Please refer to the following web link for more information on the definition of abuse and related topics for this special work permit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/temporary-residents/foreign-workers/vulnerable-workers.html#definition
The category of financial abuse is certainly one where there is unfortunately a great deal of prevalence in society involving migrant workers who lack skills and knowledge in English or French. Applicants such as these are desperate for an opportunity to work in Canada and provide a pathway to members of their family to migrate to Canada. They are lured into these situations by either ghost consultants or licensed consultants who deal with the applicant in cash payment schemes where there is no legitimate hope of actually earning a real wage in Canada.
It is strongly advised that such applicants make a report to the CBSA fraud line and report the abuse as well as swearing an affidavit that outlines all of the details that support their abusive work place scenario.
Some further examples are given in the program delivery instruction as follows:
- The employer, a third party or both have abused the migrant worker by charging them job placement or recruitment fees based on false promises or misleading information (fraud), or are otherwise threatening, controlling or exploiting the worker.
- The migrant worker is repeatedly harassed (for example, unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that is offending or humiliating) by a co-worker in their workplace.
- The migrant worker is threatened by their employer if they complain about their work conditions.
- The migrant worker has exited an abusive situation but would be at risk of abuse if they returned.
- Forcing or pressuring the migrant worker to perform work that contravenes the conditions of their work permit (for example, working for a different employer than stated on the permit or performing different job duties), recognizing that this jeopardizes a worker’s status in Canada, is a form of coerced engagement in illegal activity, and may be accompanied by or enable further threats, intimidation and abuse.
- The migrant worker may not be directly experiencing abuse but may be in a situation where their co-workers are being abused by their employer, putting them at risk of experiencing an abusive situation.
A recent real like situation that landed a truck driver 8 years in prison exemplifies pressures that some truck drivers experience in making deliveries of products to final destinations within a time period that is clearly illegal. Reference can be made to the following news article: Winnipeg trucker who killed four in Toronto crash gets eight years
In the article there are details that the truck driver, who clearly ought to have known better, was subjected to pressures by his employer to make delivery of pork meat within a time frame that can only be described as illegal knowing that drivers must only work so many hours within a 24 hour period of time.
The IRCC also announced new program delivery instructions for certain applicants to be able to file a digital application if they meet certain program requirements. Reference can be made to the following web link: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/updates/2021-digital-economic-class.html
The devil is always in the details. One has to visit various sub links to see whether their client is going to qualify for such digital submission of their application.
David H. Davis is the founder and owner of Davis Immigration Law Office. He and his team can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org on the web at www.daviddavislaw.com or by phone at 204-956-2336 extension 208. David has over 31 years of legal experience in Canadian immigration legal matters and is a licensed recruiter in Western Canada: Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.