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Tories drop criminal-employer ban in foreign-worker rules, baffle stakeholders

OTTAWA - Labour and business stakeholders say they're baffled by the Conservative government's recent removal of provisions from its Temporary Foreign Worker Program that would have barred criminal employers from participating.

In a notice published New Year's Day, the government said its original proposals aimed at employers convicted of human trafficking, sexually assaulting an employee or causing the death of a worker were too rigid and cumbersome.

And so it removed them from its crackdown on those who violate the program, saying other measures will achieve the same end — a safe workplace free of abuse.

The changes, meantime, have left stakeholders scratching their heads.

The head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said his organization supported the original measures and weren't behind the removal.

An official at the Canadian Labour Congress called the move bizarre.

A spokesperson for the Employment and Social Development Department wasn't immediately available to comment.

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