Canada is a strong supporter of human rights both at home and internationally. As a temporary foreign worker in Canada, you have certain rights that you can exercise.
The Canadian law is meant to protect all workers in Canada, and this includes temporary foreign workers as well. The exploitation of a foreign national constitutes to violation of Canadian law and human rights.
1. Employment contracts
Temporary foreign workers who are hired for occupations that require lower levels of formal training are required to sign an employment contract with their employers. This contract is meant for the protection of foreign workers. Also, it is advisable, for higher skilled temporary foreign workers to sign an employment contract with their employer before they start work. Both the worker and the employer should comply with the terms and conditions of the contract.
The contract should include:
- The temporary employees’ pay along with details of deductions from the pay
- Details of the employees’ job duties, and
- Conditions of employment
2. Changing employers
As a temporary foreign worker in Canada, you are allowed to change employers. No temporary foreign worker in Canada will be penalized or deported for looking for a job change. The National Job Bank or Working in Canada websites can assist you with your search for a new job.
3. If you lose your job
Most cases require the employer to give the employee a written notice and termination pay before asking her to leave the job. However, this does not apply in cases where the employer has a “just cause”. For instance, a serious misconduct or missing work without good reason. For employees who are on an employment contract for a specific period of time or for a specific job, the employer is not required to give the employee notice when the contract ends. It is important to note that the rules regarding the notice of employment termination may vary depending on the province or territory where the employee is employed.
An employer is not required to give the employee a place to stay in Canada, unless:
- The employee is a temporary farm worker who is hired under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) or the Agricultural Stream; or
- The employee is a live-in caregiver who is hired under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP).
Under the Agricultural Stream or the LCP, the employer may have to deduct part of the cost of accommodation from the pay he is providing. Under SAWP, only employers in British Columbia are allowed to make payroll deductions for accommodation. For most other provinces and territories, the amount that is charged for meals and accommodation is usually limited to a maximum amount, which should be noted.
5. Occupational health and safety
The Canadian government provides the right to a safe and healthy workplace to all workers in Canada. There are laws in place that protect workers from conditions that are not deemed safe for a working environment. Provincial, territorial and federal governments are equipped with their own laws that allow them to investigate health and safety matters.
6. Refusing dangerous work
You have the right to refuse to work if you believe that the work you are doing or have been told to do is dangerous and that you don’t have the necessary training to perform the job duties or operate machinery. Your employer cannot punish you for refusing dangerous work and must pay you until:
- The employer has the danger removed.
- The employer has made sure that you receive the required and necessary training and are ready to work
- You feel the problem no longer exists; or
- A government official ensures you that it is safe to do the work.
As an immigrant worker in Canada, you are entitled to certain rights and are protected by the Canadian government in case of violation of those rights. The list above is just the tip of the iceberg. To know more about employment laws in Canada, get in touch with Prowse Chowne.