This is a document designed by Migrant Workers Alliance for Change with resources that you can use to get information or find support in December 2021. Not everyone may be able to assist, but these are some suggested places you can contact.
Paint or write on a square fabric that will be stitched together into a large quilt to represent migrant solidarity and struggles and will be part of our push to […]
Know Your Rights
The Home Child Care Provider Pilot program (HCCP) re-opened on January 1, 2022, after being closed since April 30, 2021.
This is not a new program. The program has only 2,750 spots. Once IRCC receives 2,750 applications in a year, they stop accepting more applications.
You should apply as soon as possible if you haven’t already.
You may be able to bring your family to join you if you qualify through the HCCP and are eligible for PR.
This program was created because migrant care workers like you organized. But the requirements are unfair. 2750 is not enough spots for everyone to apply. Not all of us can pass the CLB Level 5 English exam or have completed 1 year post-secondary education. Get involved. Call now to join with other migrant care workers like you to get permanent status for all.
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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 have 90 days after your work permit expires to restore your status.
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 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!
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.
Your boss should be providing you respirator masks to better protect you against COVID-19. This type of mask protects you more than medical masks because it has a better filter and fits your face better. Look for these numbers on your mask: N95, N99, KN95 or, KF94.
Respirator masks look like this:
If your employer is not providing proper masks, sanitizer, or not helping you and your coworkers be safe at work or in your bunkhouse, contact us for support.
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 currently $15.50 per hour. Find out the current minimum wage in your province here: https://migrantworkersalliance.org/min-wage-on/.
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!
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.
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!
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.
You can apply for an Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers. This permit lets workers with closed or employer-specific work permits leave an abusive or potentially abusive work situation in order to find a new job in Canada.
- What is considered abuse?
Abuse can be any behaviour that scares, controls or isolates you. It can be physical, sexual, financial or mental. It can include physical harm, threats or insults, unwanted sexual comments or touching, controlling where you go or which people you see, or taking some or all of your money.
2. How do I apply? Do I need a lawyer? How much does it cost?
In order to apply, you need to share your story of what happened or is happening to you and include evidence of this abuse. You also need to fill out forms provided by the IRCC and submit them online with your story and evidence. You do not need a lawyer to apply, but some workers prefer to receive legal assistance. The cost to apply is free.
3. What evidence can I present?
You must describe the abuse you went through in a letter. You can also include supporting materials like photos, witness statements, text messages or emails, support letters from organizations, etc.
4. Will my employer get in trouble or be contacted by IRCC?
No, your employer will not be notified by IRCC that you applied for this permit. It is up to you if you want to notify them or not.
5. Will this affect my permanent residency (PR) application?
No, your PR application will not be negatively affected if you apply for this permit.
6. Can I work with any employer with this permit? Do I still need an LMIA to work?
If you are approved for this permit, you are now able to work for any employer in any profession without an LMIA. But if you want to apply for PR in the future, you may have to stay in care work to accumulate the required work hours under the Caregiver programs.
7. How long is the permit valid and what happens after it expires?
This permit is only valid for up to 1 year and it cannot be renewed. If you do not have PR yet before the permit expires, you will have to find an employer to sponsor you again in order to maintain your temporary status.
But this is not fair - our closed work permits give employers too much control over our lives and working conditions and this is what leads to abuse. We should be free to work wherever we want and leave bad jobs.
8. Do I need to have a valid status to apply?
Yes, you must have valid temporary resident status to be able to apply for this permit.
This is unfair to all those of us who are forced to leave abusive employers and end up losing our status. These partial solutions will not solve our problem - that we do not have equal rights when we don’t have permanent residency. This is why migrant care workers like you are organizing to full and permanent status for everyone.
- How much notice should my employer give me before they terminate me? When am I entitled to termination pay?
Your employer can end your employment without notice if you’ve worked for less than 3 months.
After 3 months, they must give you notice in writing. If you do not get notice, you should get termination pay instead. The amount of notice or termination pay you get depends on how long you have worked for the employer, or what is stated on your contract (if you have one) if it is more than what the law guarantees.
2. If I have been terminated, when should my employer give me my Record of Employment (ROE) and my T4?
Your employer should provide your ROE within 5 calendar days after you received your final wages. You do not need to wait for your ROE to apply for Employment Insurance (EI).
Your employer has until March 31 of each year to file your T4 and send a copy to you.
3. What should I do if my employer is forcing me to sign a resignation letter?
You have the right not to sign anything. You can let your employer know that you want to review the letter first or talk to a lawyer before signing it.
You cannot sign away your rights. Even if you are forced to sign a document, you can fight it later. Make sure you write down or keep copies (screenshots of texts, emails, etc.) of everything that happened when your employer forced you to sign something. Contact us for help.
4. What should I do if my employer terminated me, but they said I “quit” on my ROE?
If you think it is safe, you can ask your employer to change the ROE.
If you need your ROE to apply for Employment Insurance (EI), you can write an explanation of your situation and include it with your EI application. If you need the ROE for your PR, only the hours or months you worked are important - the reason for termination will not affect your PR application.
5. Can my employer terminate me if I stand up for my rights?
It is against the law for your employer to terminate you, reduce your hours, or punish you in any way for asking questions about your rights. For example, this can include if you bring up issues about your pay or if you are working long hours without pay.
If you are terminated for standing up for your rights, this is called a “reprisal,” and you can file a claim with the Ministry of Labour. Make sure to write down or keep copies (screenshots of texts, emails, etc.) of everything that happened when your employer terminated you.
6. What should I do if my employer terminates me and has not paid my full wages?
Ask your employer in writing (email, text, on paper) to pay you your wages and how much they owe you. This can be used as proof if you need to file a Ministry of Labour claim.
If your employer refuses to pay you your wages, you can file a Ministry of Labour claim or connect with other care workers like you to take action. Laws alone cannot protect us - workers need to take action together to have more power. Join us!