Blog Post #538 – Portal Opens Up Education

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Saskatchewan has launched an online service and now a portal opens up education to make it easier for provincial employers to find and connect with foreign skilled workers.

The new employer portal, located at, combines all previous application forms into one online document.

Previously, employers were required to fill out and submit three forms at various stages of the application process, says Kirk Westgard, acting assistant deputy minister for the provincial Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration in Regina. “Employers have less paperwork and they will know before they make a job offer to a foreign worker whether or not the job meets [specific] criteria,” Westgard says.

Saskatchewan faces an estimated labour shortage of 80,000 workers over the next five years. “Employers should know in a matter of days if their job meets [Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)] criteria,” Westgard says.

The website offers visitors oh&s, labour standards and settlement services information, he says. Employers are also required to answer “yes” or “no” to the question of whether or not they have any outstanding oh&s or labour standards issues, which “will ensure the SINP is assisting to bring immigrants to safe and
work-friendly employers.”

Larry Hubich, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour in Regina, says that while there is a need for foreign skilled workers in the province, he is concerned the “necessary protections for foreign workers aren’t in place.”

Workers, skilled or otherwise, may be exploited by unscrupulous employers, Hubich suggests. “I have [been getting] an increasing number of calls and inquiries from people about the protection and safety and rights of foreign workers,” he reports.

Currently, Westgard says, more than 1,000 employers are actively using the SINP. In 2010-2011, the government expects 4,100 nominations, an increase from 3,500 in 2009-2010.

My opinion

My first reaction to this report was a potential for the obvious potential for exploitation of the foreign workers and this did not sit well with anybody from our office. Since this report had come out there has been numerous examples of exploitation of foreign workers and the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour were justified in their concerns.

A great example of abuse was a report out of BC. A few years ago, a company used foreign migrant workers to work back in the bush and placed them under atrocious conditions. They were only found out after one of the migrant workers set a fire to the compound to bring in the authorities. They workers worked in cold temperatures, lived in cold trailers and were transported back and forth in undersize vehicles. To think that this type of thing could happen in Canada was an eye-opener indeed! (Please read blog post #482)

I agree with the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour that to put in new legislation on one side the government has to look at the other side of health and safety to protect all the workers including any new ones coming into the area.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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