Toronto, September 25, 2014 – Restaurants Canada supports graduated penalties for businesses that intentionally break the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) rules, provided they match the severity of the violation.

“We have concerns about proposed sanctions for unintentional mistakes that have been corrected and voluntarily reported by businesses, but we support the overall move toward stronger enforcement,” said Joyce Reynolds, Restaurants Canada’s Executive Vice President Government Affairs. “Since 2008, we have pushed government for better monitoring and enforcement of rules to protect the long-term integrity of the TFWP, and make sure the actions of a few don’t tarnish the entire restaurant industry. We hope the government will revisit the drastic program changes introduced in June, once these new compliance procedures are in place.”

Restaurants Canada is also calling for prompt, fair and comprehensive reviews when businesses are accused of abusing the program.

“When allegations are proven untrue, they should receive the same public recognition as the allegation itself,” said Reynolds. “It is not acceptable to vilify a business and then ignore it when it is found innocent.”

The TFWP changes introduced in June severely limit access to the program, and are already hurting business owners and their Canadian and foreign workers, particularly in western Canada where the labour shortage is significant. Productive foreign workers who want to remain in Canada are sent home and businesses are becoming unsustainable as their remaining staff burn out.

Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers. Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper.

Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs more than 1.1 million Canadians, contributes $68 billion a year to the Canadian economy, and serves more than 18 million customers every day.

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