Saskatchewan looks to protect newcomers with new legislation

Legislation includes settlement services, stronger protections, greater enforcement

Saskatchewan looks to protect newcomers with new legislation

Saskatchewan is looking to better serve and protect immigrants coming to the province — and the employers hiring them — with a new legislation.

Through the Immigration Services Act, the province will strengthen the immigration system, protect newcomers and employers, and create the strongest program integrity framework in the country, it said.

"Immigration is critical to Saskatchewan's economic growth," said Jeremy Harrison, minister of immigration and career training. "This strengthened legislation will support and protect newcomers and employers, and ensure Saskatchewan is able to attract and retain the labour force we need to support our growing economy and communities.

“This new legislation will enhance Saskatchewan's ability to support newcomers as they arrive in the province, improve the process for employers looking to hire foreign workers and ensure Saskatchewan has the most robust program integrity framework in Canada."

In February, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) called on the federal government to close the Recognized Employer Pilot under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), saying that it is being exploited by low-wage employers.

What is Saskatchewan’s program for immigration?

Through the new Immigration Services Act, the province will:

  • enhance the province's ability to provide a full suite of settlement services from pre-arrival support to longer-term retention assistance
  • have stronger protections for foreign workers against exploitation and oversight of recruiters, immigration consultants, and non-compliant employers, improving the integrity and safety of our immigration program; and,
  • have increased investigative authorities and enforcement measures to tackle immigration fraud, including increased maximum fine amounts for offences and authorizing administrative monetary penalties for non-compliance.

“The new Immigration Services Act will also repeal and replace the Foreign Worker Recruitment and Immigration Services Act, bringing all authorities related to immigration in Saskatchewan under one piece of legislation,” said the Saskatchewan government. “This will better enable the province to respond to changing needs in the immigration system and will streamline the process for employers who need to use immigration to address their workforce needs.”

Autonomy over immigration continues to be a priority for the Saskatchewan government, it said. 

In 2022, the province proposed the Saskatchewan Immigration Accord, an agreement with the federal government to facilitate greater provincial autonomy over immigration. 

“The government of Saskatchewan is committed to further pursuing increased autonomy over immigration with the federal government,” said the provincial government. “The increased investigative authorities, stronger enforcement measures and new authorities over settlement services included in this new act are another step toward this goal.”

Job seekers from outside Canada have shown far greater interest in coming to work in the country, according to a previous Indeed report.

And the earnings gap between immigrants in Canada and Canadian-born citizens stood at 1.0% in 2023, the lowest in two decades, according to a recent report from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).

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