Care Workers

We care for families. We deserve rights and status!

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Harpreet worked 16 hours a day, and was paid $600 a month. But she stood up for her rights and is organizing for change with the Caregivers' Action Centre. Join her.

Know Your Rights

Immigrant Rights
How do I apply for permanent residency?

To apply for the new Caregiver Program that started in June 2019, you have to meet all the requirements before coming to Canada. If you are applying from within Canada, you have to meet all the requirements before being accepted into the program. 

The government requires:

  1. A job offer from an employer in Canada

A signed offer of employment to be a home child care provider or a home support worker in a job (outside of the province of Quebec).

  1. Ability to do the job

Relevant work experience or training that shows you are able to do the job of a home child care provider (nanny, babysitter, live-in caregiver providing child care) or a home support worker (attendant for persons with disabilities, live-in caregiver for seniors, personal care attendant, home support worker). These jobs are described under the National Occupation Classification (NOC) code 4411 or 4412.

  1. Educational Credential Assessment

At least 1 year Canadian post-secondary education or its equivalent. You must get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an approved organization.

  1. Language Test

English or French language skills that meet the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5. You must pass the IELTS or CELPIP exam with CLB 5 in all skills. Your test must be less than 2 years old when you apply.

If you do not qualify, you are not alone! The requirements are too strict and leave most care workers out. This is not fair! PR means equal rights, the power to protect ourselves, leave bad jobs and reunite with our families. Care workers like you are working together to push the Canadian government to give permanent status for all. Contact us to get involved.

What should I do if my work permit is expiring or has expired?

If your work permit is expiring soon, you may be able to extend your work permit through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Your employer will need a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) first. 

If your work permit has expired, you may be able to restore your status if you have a positive LMIA. You usually have 90 days after your work permit expires to restore your status, but right now there is a temporary public policy that has extended the restoration period until August 31, 2021.

But we are tired of these temporary policies - we need permanent solutions! This is why migrant care workers like you are organizing to win full and permanent status for all. Join us!

If I already applied for permanent residency and my work permit is expiring soon, do I need to apply for a new work permit?

If you applied for an open work permit or bridging open work permit at the same time you applied for PR, you do not have to apply for a new work permit because you will be under “implied status” until you receive a decision. 

But being under implied status means our health card and SIN become expired, leaving us without access to essential services. All workers deserve equal access to health care and benefits. This is why migrant care workers like you are organizing to win permanent status for all. Join us!

How can I change my employer? Will it affect my permanent residency application?

If you have a closed work permit, you will have to apply for a new LMIA and work permit in order to change employers and legally work in Canada. If you have a valid open work permit, you can change employers at any time. 

If you have a permanent residency application in process under the new Caregiver program and you have not completed the required 24 months of service, you will need to send in an updated IMM 5983 form or a copy of your current temporary employment contract. 

These restrictive immigration rules force migrant care workers to stay in bad jobs because it is difficult to find an employer with an LMIA or we are worried about our PR application. This is not fair! We should be free to change employers when we want to.

Rights at Work
What is my minimum wage?

You must be paid at least minimum wage for every hour you work. Minimum wage is different in every province. In Ontario the minimum wage is $14.25. 

Because we don’t have permanent immigration status, employers can take advantage of care workers by making us work more hours than we are paid for or paying us less than minimum wage. This is not fair and this is why care workers are demanding landed status now!

Can my boss take deductions from my wages?

Your employer is allowed to take certain deductions from your wages depending on what Caregiver Program you are under:

If you are under the Live-In Caregiver Program and received an LMIA permit before November 30, 2014, your employer can deduct:

• Private Room weekly: $31.70
• Meals Weekly: $53.55 or $2.55 per meal
• Room and Meals Weekly: $85.25

For care workers with LMIA-based work permits under the Caregiver Program after November 30, 2014, your employer cannot make deductions for room and board.

If you have an occupation-restricted work permit under the new Caregiver program that started on June 18, 2019, your employer can deduct room and board. 

Your employer must provide you with a pay slip each pay period that shows your pay, hours and deductions.

Migrant care workers fought for the right to live out of employers' homes and not be charged room and board. It is not fair that the government brought back these rules. That is why care workers are continuing to fight against unfair rules and demanding status now. Join us.

How many hours do I have to work in a week?

In Ontario, the maximum number of hours your boss can schedule you in a week is 48. If your boss wants you to work more, they must ask you to sign a written agreement from the Ministry of Labour. It is your legal right to refuse. If you sign it, you can cancel the agreement by giving your boss 2 weeks’ notice.

Care workers are often pressured to work more than 48 hours a week, but it is difficult to stand up for our rights when we are tied to our employers for our permanent residency status. This is why we need status for all now! Join us!

If I lost my job, am I eligible for income support?

You can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) if you have worked enough hours and have a valid work permit and/or implied status. Receiving EI will not affect your ability to apply for permanent residency in the future. 

Sometimes migrant care workers are denied or told that we are not eligible for EI because of our work permit. This is not true. You are entitled to this benefit. All migrant workers deserve access to benefits and income supports regardless of immigration status.