Canada – Québec: New Obligations for Employers Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers

Canada – Québec: New Obligations for Employers Hiring

On January 1, 2020, new immigration provisions came into force for employers hiring temporary foreign workers in the Canadian province of Quebec under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Among the new obligations, as of January 1, an Employer Declaration must be made to the supervisory body known as “CNESST” consisting of certain key information. Moreover, personnel placement or recruitment agencies of temporary foreign workers must obtain a license from the CNESST to operate.



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On January 1, 2020, new immigration provisions came into force for employers hiring temporary foreign workers in the Canadian province of Quebec under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.1 If an employer submits a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), the employer will be subject to new obligations under the Act Respecting Labour Standards2.

A new hiring reporting system must be adhered to within the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) by a Déclaration d’embauche des travailleurs étrangers temporaires (referred hereafter as ‟the Employer Declaration”).  The CNESST is the supervisory body with the power to initiate inquiries and undertake any recourse under the Act Respecting Labour Standards on behalf of the worker.


To date, there was no particular obligation for an employer to submit any specific information to the CNESST when hiring a temporary foreign worker; now that new obligation is imposed, meaning additional procedures for employers.

Furthermore, if you are doing business with any personnel placement agency or temporary foreign worker recruitment agency, you must make sure that the agency holds a mandatory license issued by the CNESST to perform such activities on your behalf.  As an employer, you will be solely responsible if an amount is owed to the employee, including salary and vacation indemnities.

Employer Declaration to CNESST

As of January 1, 2020, the Employer Declaration to the CNESST will consist of the following information:

  • The arrival date of the temporary foreign worker in Quebec;
  • The term of the employment; and
  • A justification emphasizing the reasons of an earlier departure before the end of the employment contract, when applicable.

The Employer Declaration can be submitted online3 or by mail4.  The information will be kept for a period of six years. You must retain all documentation in support of the information disclosed in the Employer Declaration.

Obligation to Obtain a License for Personnel Placement Agencies or Temporary Foreign Worker Recruitment Agencies

Personnel placement or recruitment agencies of temporary foreign workers must obtain a license from the CNESST to operate.  A public list5 is now available for employers to validate which agencies hold a license.  Agencies and employers will be liable to fines from $600 to $6,000 and from $1,200 to $12,000, in case of a recurrent offence (all dollar figures expressed are Canadian dollars).

The License will be valid for an initial period of two years and subject to certain obligations.  Such obligations include the need to establish that any personnel who advises, assists, or represents an employee with his/her Work Permit application is a member of the Barreau du Québec or of the Chamber des notaires du Québec or a registered immigration consultant.  Fees related to the recruitment of the temporary foreign worker and government fees cannot be recovered from the employee.      


Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your usual qualified immigration counsel or labour lawyer.  We will continue to monitor the implementation of the new Quebec immigration reporting system and provide you with additional information as appropriate.


Loi modifiant la Loi sur les normes du travail et d’autres dispositions législatives afin principalement de faciliter la conciliation famille-travail, ‟Gazette Officielle du Québec,” Partie 2, 1 août 2018, 150e année, no 31.

2  Loi sur les normes du travail, chapitre N-1.1.

3  See the relevant CNESST webpage.

4  See the CNESST form (PDF 635 KB).

 See the relevant CNESST webpage for finding listed agencies.

*  Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.


The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.


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