Vulnerable Workers In Canada Can Apply For An Open Work Permit – Here’s How To Do It Right

Vulnerable Workers In Canada Can Apply For An Open Work Permit – Here’s How To Do It Right

Aug 1, 2023

Temporary foreign workers have the same rights and workstation security as enjoyed by any Canadian and permanent resident. In this article, we’ll share a list of rights all workers, including temporary foreign workers, have by law in Canada. Also, we’ll explore an option for vulnerable workers in Canada that are being abused or at risk of being abused.

Do you know that temporary foreign workers in Canada are entitled to the rights and workplace protection by law as any other Canadian? This ensures that everyone in the Canadian workforce is treated fairly and impartially.

Below, we outline the fundamental rights that apply to all workers in the country, including temporary foreign workers. We shall also explore the choices available for vulnerable workers who risk being abused or are already victims of abuse in the country.

Steps To Take Before Applying For A Work Permit

Before submitting your work permit application, your employer must provide a copy of your employment contract. This is clearly mentioned on the IRCC’s website. The employment contract should be in either English or French and accurately mention the occupation, wages, and working conditions specified in your job offer. Both you and your employer must sign this agreement. Don’t overlook this vital aspect.

Know Your Rights As An Employee In Canada

Certain rights protect your entitlements as a worker in Canada. There are a series of dos and don’ts your employer must follow.

What Your Employer Must Do

  • Provide Information: Your employer must inform you about your rights as a worker and make you aware of your entitlements and protections.
  • Supply Employment Agreement: Before applying for your work permit, your employer must provide you with a signed copy of your employment agreement. This agreement should outline your job, wages, and working conditions.
  • Fair Compensation: Your employer must pay you by the terms stated in your employment agreement. The details must also include compensation for overtime work if applicable.
  • Safe and Abuse-Free Workplace: The employer must maintain a workplace free from any form of abuse or harassment. The employer must not force you to work in unsafe conditions.
  • Compliance with Employment Standards: Your employer must adhere to the employment and recruitment standards specified by the province or territory where you are employed.
  • Access to Health Care: If you get injured or fall ill at work, your employer must assist you in accessing appropriate health care services.

What Your Employer Must Not Do

  • Dangerous Tasks: Your employer cannot force you to perform tasks that are hazardous or not outlined in your employment agreement.
  • Working While Sick or Injured: Your employer cannot compel you to work if you are sick or injured. Your well-being must be prioritized.
  • Unauthorized Overtime: Your employer cannot require you to work overtime unless stated in your employment agreement.
  • Retaliation for Reporting: Your employer cannot punish you for reporting mistreatment, unsafe conditions, or cooperating with a government inspection.
  • Holding Documents: Your employer cannot take away your passport, work permit, or other immigration documents.
  • Immigration Status: Your employer cannot deport you from Canada or manipulate your immigration status.
  • Recruitment Fee Repayment: Your employer cannot demand you to pay back recruitment fees they might have incurred while hiring you.

Maintaining Your Health And Safety At Work

The IRCC’s website states that if you sustain an injury or fall sick while at work, you must alert your supervisor immediately and seek medical attention. Your employer must facilitate and hasten to find a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. You are also entitled to the following:

  • Your employer must give you time off to seek necessary medical attention.
  • A phone or any other means to call emergency services, such as an ambulance, should be provided by your employer.
  • Your employer should provide you with information on how to access healthcare services.
  • If needed, your employer should assist you in reaching the healthcare provider by arranging for proper transformation.

Please note that the employer is not obligated to cover the cost of transportation to the hospital. You also have the right to discuss your medical situation privately with the healthcare provider.

In the case of workplace safety, your employer cannot compel you to engage in dangerous work, nor can they withhold payment for the tasks you perform. They must address any reported hazards at work promptly.

If you encounter a dangerous situation, you have the right to refuse the work until both you and your employer have agreed on the following:

  • The danger has been eliminated.
  • You have been provided with appropriate equipment and training.
  • The issue no longer poses a threat.

The employer must abide by the employment and health and safety laws. They must also provide proper training to ensure you can perform your job safely. If your role involves handling hazardous chemical products, they must supply you with the necessary equipment and training.

How To Apply For Open Work Permit For Vulnerable Workers

If you face abuse or potential abuse while working in Canada, you can apply for an open work permit for vulnerable workers. The permit allows such applicants to change jobs and work for any employer in the country. However, this permit is temporary and cannot be renewed.

To apply for an open work permit, you must be in Canada when making the application. You must also have a valid and active employer-specific work permit.

This step-by-step guide will assist you in this regard.

Apply Online: The best way to apply is through the online application process. You are required to provide compelling documents to support your claims. These include:

  • A letter, report, or statement from any support organization, medical doctor, healthcare professional, etc.
  • A sworn self-statement (affidavit)
  • A copy of an official report submitted to an enforcement agency like the police or Canada Border Services Agency.
  • A copy of the grievance lodged with the employment standards branch or any other provincial government enforcement agency.
  • A victim impact statement
  • Email or text messages
  • Pay stubs or bank statements
  • Photos showing injuries or working conditions
  • Witness testimonies.

Not sure how to apply online? Approach enforcement organizations for like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), or Ministry of Labour in Ontario.

You can also seek assistance from the employment standards branches or divisions in Alberta, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and New Brunswick.

Labour standards divisions in Newfoundland and Labrador or Nova Scotia and the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (Quebec) can also provide quality support and assistance.

There is no processing fee to be paid for this application.

For more detailed information, you can book a consultation with us.

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