Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney says employers who abuse the temporary foreign workers program could face fraud charges and possible jail time.

Kenney says he believes the number of abuses under the program is small and the government has already been working to tighten the rules.

The government has been under fire for months amid reports of abuse by restaurants and other companies.

The latest controversy involves two long-serving Saskatchewan waitresses who were recently fired from a restaurant in Weyburn while their temporary foreign worker colleagues were spared.

Kenney says a bill now before Parliament would make it easier to impose administrative penalties on offenders.

In the meantime, he says, employers who lie on their application forms for temporary foreign worker permits can face criminal fraud charges.