Recruiting and Employing a Foreign Worker in Nova Scotia: Labour Standards Rules

Recruiting and Employing a Foreign Worker in Nova Scotia: Labour Standards Rules

< Back to Articles | Topics: Guest Post | Contributors: Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration | Published: April 19, 2023

Are you an employer having difficulty finding workers? Are you considering employing a foreign worker? Here’s what you need to know in Nova Scotia.

Who is a foreign worker under the NS Labour Standards Code?

Someone who is recruited to work in Nova Scotia and is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Finding and employing:

  • Most employers who are seeking to employ foreign workers in Nova Scotia must apply for an Employer Registration Certificate (ERC) from Labour Standards. There is no fee to apply for an ERC.
  • On the ERC application form you will need to provide some basic information such as the number of foreign workers you’re seeking to hire, type of work to be done, etc.
  • You can use a third-party without a recruiter licence for immigration support, such as helping you fill out immigration paperwork. You need to ensure they don’t do anything recruitment-related, such as providing you with information about foreign workers seeking employment, or providing foreign workers with information about jobs you are seeking to fill

Important protections for foreign workers:

  • It is against the law for any person to charge or collect a fee from an individual for helping the individual find employment in NS. Employers can’t make deductions (directly or indirectly) from a worker’s pay to cover the costs of recruiting, and can’t ask the worker to give money to the recruiter either
  • Employers can’t eliminate or reduce a foreign worker’s wages, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment (for instance hours). Also, a foreign worker can’t agree to an elimination or reduction in wages
  • Employers and recruiters can’t take or keep a foreign worker’s property (passport, work permit, etc.)
  • The rest of the rules in the Labour Standards Code (for example in relation to pay, holidays, vacation, leaves from work, termination of employment etc.) apply to foreign workers as well
  • Employers must keep employment records of all employees, including foreign workers. Employers must also keep records related to the recruitment of employees. These records must be kept for at least 36 months after the work has been performed
  • Employers have certain obligations under the Labour Standards Code when firing or laying off an employee – contact us if you have questions

There are exceptions to the various rules under the Labour Standards Code in relation to foreign workers, such as exemptions to the definition of foreign worker, and exceptions to the registration/licensing requirements. Learn more: Nova Scotia Foreign Worker Program Exemptions |


Learn more:

Ask us: or 1-888-315-0110

Need to Apply for an ERC?

Learn how to apply:

< Back to Articles | Topics: Guest Post

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter and receive important updates on Halifax Chamber events, Member benefits and advocacy news.