Your Rights as a Temporary Foreign Worker in Canada

Are you new to working as a foreign worker, especially in Canada? Don’t worry. The International Mobility Program (IMP) and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) are ideally the two primary paths that can help you work in Canada if you are a foreign worker. Did you know that under these paths, foreign nationals working in Canada enjoy similar protections and rights as the country’s permanent residents and regular citizens?

Therefore, since the IMP and TFWP have already set forth these rights and protections, they expect employers to adhere to them strictly. Failure to observe these protections means that your employer risks facing legal consequences. In other words, the force of law protects these rights.

This article will help you keep an ear to the ground regarding your rights if you ever decide to work in Canada as a temporary foreign worker. So, keep reading.

Your Rights as a Temporary Worker

As a foreign worker, your rights and protections fall in either of the following categories;

  • What your employer must/should do to ensure they adhere to legal and program standards
  • What your employer must NOT do to adhere to the same legal and program standards

Your Employer Must do the Following

With that said, here is what Immigration and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) stipulates your employer to do;

  • Educate you about your rights as a foreign worker.
  • Know the recruitment and employment standards of the territory or province where the company is located and follow these standards.
  • Ensure that you have officially received your employment agreement (a signed copy)
  • Ensure you are properly trained on workplace safety, including using personnel protective equipment.
  • Ensure that you receive your earnings based on what your employment agreement states.
  • Ensure you can access healthcare services in case of illness or injury in the line of duty.
  • Ensure your work environment is free from abuse.

Your Employer Must Not do the Following

Here is what the IMP and TFWP expect your employer not to do;

  • Your employer should never use force on you to do any task not included in your employment agreement.
  • Your employer should never use force on you to work while injured or sick.
  • They should not change your immigration status or deport you from the country.
  • You should never feel pressured to work overtime.
  • Your employer should never take your passport by force.
  • Your employer should never punish you for cooperating with a government worker while conducting an inspection.
  • They should never penalize you for reporting inadequate housing, unsafe work, mistreatment, etc.

Your Employer Risks Facing the Following Repercussions if they are Non-Compliant

Suppose your employer fails to comply with IMP or TFWP’s standards. In that case, they will face one or multiple legal aftermaths, as we have outlined below;

  • A warning from IRCC
  • Penalties as high as $100,000 for each violation
  • Publishing of the firm name, address, offense, repercussions, etc., on the IRCC website
  • Your employer’s previously issued Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) can be suspended.
  • Removal from IMP or TFWP with the inability to rejoin

Reporting Non-Compliance From Your Canadian Employer

Suppose you realize that your Canadian employer does not comply with the set protections and rights. You should report the company to the concerned authorities as a temporary foreign worker. For example, you can use the tip line to contact Service Canada. The good thing about this confidential service is that it is accessible in 200+ languages. In addition, you can fill out an online form.

That’s not all! You can also report to any of the following support organizations for Canada’s migrant employees;

  • You can contact the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society if you are a foreign worker in Saskatchewan, Alberta, or Manitoba. How will you reach this organization? Use the support organization’s TFW Hub or Community Support Services.
  • You can contact MOSAIC or Community Airport Newcomers Network if you are a migrant worker in British Columbia.
  • You can contact Travailleurs Etrangers Temporaires if you work in Quebec.
  • You can also contact KAIROS Canada if you are a foreign worker in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Ontario.

Lastly, if the need arises, it is your right to report any other issues with your employer to IRCC as a temporary foreign employee.

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