Working for Workers Act, 2023

On March 20, 2023, the Ontario government introduced the Working for Workers Act, 2023. This act will strengthen protections for temporary foreign workers who have become increasingly vulnerable to employers who withhold or retain a foreign worker’s passport or work permit. The highest maximum fines in Canada may be imposed on both businesses and individuals who contravene these new rules.


Fines could range between $100,000 to $200,000 per worker. However, the passing of this legislation allows supplementary punishment to per-passport penalties. Those convicted of withholding passports can face a fine of up to $500,000, up to 12 months imprisonment or both. Corporations that are found liable would be subject to fines of up to $1 million. After the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development established a new unit to detect potential labour trafficking activity in 2021, they received over 300 tips. This unit was able to help 3,500 workers recover $400,000 in wages.


The Ontario government has proposed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to increase the maximum fine for corporations. Offences committed under the OHSA will be subject to the fine increase from $1.5 million to $2 million. Proposed legislative amendments to the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act and the OHSA would come into force upon Royal Assent if they are passed.