Manitoba’s first-of-its-kind Worker Recruitment and Protection Act and its regulations will come into full effect April 1 to help protect children from dishonest talent and modelling agencies and improve protection for foreign workers wanting to live and work in the province, Labour and Immigration Minister Nancy Allan announced today.

“This legislation targets unscrupulous recruitment activities sometimes associated with the recruitment of foreign workers,” said Allan. “It also offers greater protection for children working with talent and modelling agencies, and additional assurances for parents whose children are involved in these industries.”

Allan said the significant increase in the use of temporary foreign workers across Canada has highlighted a need for federal and provincial governments to work together to fill gaps in the protection provided to temporary foreign workers.

Manitoba’s new act and regulations, passed by the legislature in the fall of 2008, will strengthen and improve protections for vulnerable, foreign workers and children by:

  • prohibiting recruiters and employers from receiving or collecting a fee directly or indirectly from the worker they assist in finding employment,
  • requiring employers involved in international recruitment to first register with the province, and
  • requiring new provincial licenses for agencies and individuals such as:

– employment agency businesses engaged in worker recruitment that does not involve foreign workers,

– individuals engaged in foreign worker recruitment,

– talent agency businesses promoting child performers, and

– businesses engaged in child performer recruitment.

The act also introduces strengthened enforcement provisions to ensure employers, recruiters and employment agencies comply with its requirements.

People engaged in foreign worker recruitment must be a member in good standing of a Canadian law society, the Chambre des notaries due Québec or the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants.  As well, any child under the age of 17 who will be promoted by a talent agency must have a valid Child Performer Permit, issued by the province.

Names of all licensed individuals and agencies will be posted on Manitoba Labour and Immigration’s website, providing the public with the ability to ensure the legitimacy of the recruiter or agency.

Parents or guardians and the talent agency are jointly responsible for protecting a child performer and must abide by a code of conduct.  The code was developed by law enforcement officials and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

For further information, call the Employment Standards Branch at 945-3352 in Winnipeg or toll-free at 1-800-821-4307 outside Winnipeg. Information is also available at www.gov.mb.ca/labour/standards