EN / ES

Farm Workers

We sustain the world. United We Are Stronger!

Information:

Need support? Call or text.

Connect:

Gabriel Flores was fired by his bosses for speaking up for his rights. But he fought back. With support from his co-workers, he went to court and won. Now he’s organizing for justice for all farm workers.

Know Your Rights

Housing Rights
My boss says we can’t leave the bunkhouse or farm, is this true?

You and your coworkers have the right to move freely. Your boss does not have the right to restrict your movement in any way. If your boss is using threats, forcing you to sign documents, or physically blocking you from leaving - this is abuse!

Watch this video to learn more about your right to free movement in Canada: https://youtu.be/uD1QqPDUyHs

My housing isn’t safe, what can I do about it?

Currently there are no national standards for farmworker housing, which means that bunkhouses may be different depending on where you work. And because of your temporary status in Canada, speaking up about housing conditions can be risky.

This isn't fair! Everybody deserves housing that is clean, safe, and dignified. This is why farmworkers like you are organizing to win permanent status for all.

In the meantime, you have rights and options! Take pictures and videos to document your housing conditions and if possible, meet with coworkers you trust to talk about what you want to do together. We can support you to make an anonymous complaint. Contact us to talk about next steps.

Immigration Rights
How does arrival and quarantine work this year? Do I have to be vaccinated to come to Canada?

Last updated January 14, 2022 - Get in touch with us for the most recent information

  1. Rules about quarantine and vaccinations may be different, depending on what province or region you are going to. For example, there are specific rules for migrant workers coming to BC. This can be confusing! Let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
  2. If you are a farm worker or work in food processing, you do not need to be vaccinated to enter Canada. Use this tool to check and confirm whether or not you qualify for this exemption.
  3. If you are unvaccinated, your boss may not hire you back. This is not fair! Get in touch with us if you were not called back this year because of your vaccination status.
  4. Make sure you have ArriveCAN app on your phone. A printed ArriveCAN receipt is also accepted. Click here for more information or contact us if you have problems.
  5. You need to show proof of a negative test taken 72 hours or less before your plane leaves for Canada. Click here to see what type of tests are accepted.
  6. If you are fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 on arrival, you might not have to quarantine. Check yourself for symptoms every day and follow your local public health guidelines to stay safe. Let us know if you have any questions.
  7. Unvaccinated workers must quarantine for 14 days and test negative on the 14th day; you cannot work during this time but you must be paid for 30 hours/week. Contact us if you have an issue with your pay.
How can I get Permanent Resident status in Canada?

Currently the Canadian government makes it nearly impossible for migrant workers like you to get permanent resident (PR) status. This is not fair! PR means equal rights, the power to protect ourselves and leave bad jobs, and the ability to be together with our families. Everybody deserves these things!

If you do not qualify, you are not alone! The requirements for PR are too strict and shut out many of us. Farmworkers like you are uniting together to push the Canadian government to give permanent status for all. Want to join the movement for status for all? Contact us to learn how.

How can I get an open work permit?

Right now the Canadian government only gives temporary open work permits to farmworkers who can prove that they are experiencing abuse at their current workplace, or are at risk of abuse. If you are being abused or at risk of being abused at work and want to apply for this permit, contact us for support.

To learn more about the Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers, check out our factsheet here: migrantworkersalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/OWP-VW-Factsheet.pdf

Everybody deserves the freedom to choose where they work and live free from abuse. This is why farmworkers like you are organizing together to win permanent status for all! Will you join us?

How can I bring my family?

Because migrant farm workers don’t have permanent status, families are being kept apart. Very few workers are able to meet the current requirements to get permanent residency. That is why migrant workers across Canada are demanding status for all now so we can be with our families.

Rights at Work
What masks should my employer give me?

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.

For more information on types of masks and mask use:
Types of masks and respirators
Advice for community settings

What are my rights during COVID-19 quarantine?

Your employer is required to pay your wages and ensure your wellbeing while you are in quarantine. Watch this video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVlVMdYmv5g

What is my minimum wage?

The wage for farm workers depends on the province or territory where you are employed. You may be paid the minimum wage of your province, or the rate set by the Federal government every year for workers like you. 

If you are required to move from one work site to another during work hours you should be paid for travel time.

For all provinces/territories except British Columbia, when you are paid by piecework, the rate must be enough that you are able to earn at least the minimum wage  for every hour that you worked.

In British Columbia, when you are paid by piecework, the employer should pay you the rate approved in the "Minimum Piece Rates - Hand harvested crops". You must be paid at least the minimum wage as set out in the regulations. If you are not employed on a piece work basis, you are entitled to the hourly minimum wage as set by the province.

We deserve decent wages and working conditions, and the same rights as other workers. That is why we are coming together to demand better for migrant farm workers and permanent resident status for all. Join us! 

Can the boss take deductions from my wages?

If you are in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), your contract allows the boss to take these deductions: 

  • $2.36/working day for utility costs (water, electricity, etc.)
  • Up to $5.45/working day to your home country’s government. This does not apply to workers from Mexico.
  • 10% of your gross pay each pay period to pay for up to 50% of air travel cost.
  • $10/day if your boss provides you with reasonable and proper meals.

These deductions are money that should be going to support your families back home - paying for school fees, medical bills, and putting food on your family’s table. It’s not fair that Canadians who do the same work as you are able to bring home a full paycheque while you are stuck paying additional deductions. You and your coworkers deserve to be paid equally for the work you do, and this is only possible with full & permanent status for all. Are you ready to fight for it?

How can I transfer to another farm?

If you are in your home country, transfer requests can be made through your Ministry of Labour. If you want to request a transfer while you’re in Canada, you must contact your liaison officer. Unfortunately, any transfer requests made in Canada must be approved by your current employer.

This is not fair and gives too much power to the bosses. You deserve the right to choose where you work! That's why farmworkers like you are uniting to win permanent resident status for all.

In the meantime, let us know if you want to make an anonymous complaint about your employer.

Am I eligible for Employment Insurance benefits?

There are a number of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits - including sickness/injury, parental, and caregiving. All require you to be unable to work and to have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). Because of your temporary status, your SIN expires along with your work permit, so you may not be eligible for EI depending on the length of your contract. Most benefits require you to be in Canada and not working to qualify.

Click the link to learn more about available EI benefits and requirements: canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html

If you don't qualify, you're not alone! Contact us about how you can connect with other migrant workers who are fighting to win access to the benefits you deserve.

Where can I complain if the liaison is not helping?

There are limited options to make official complaints safely. Depending on the issue, you may be able to file complaints anonymously. We can support you to raise your concerns in other ways, and by joining with other workers to make change. Contact us to discuss your options.

I wasn’t called back this year, what can I do?

Current laws make it too easy for employers to leave us without work. We are not a job placement agency and cannot help you find a job. We are a migrant worker rights organization led by migrants and together we're working to change the laws so that nobody is treated like you were! You are not alone!

TAKE ACTION:
If you want to make a complaint about your previous boss, let us know. We can also connect you with other workers who are taking action together to win more rights.

There are many other workers in the same situation who shared their story with us. Share your experience here with this private and confidential form: https://migrantworkersalliance.org/not-called-back

You can also use this Canadian government website to look for farms that are hiring, but may need to apply for your own work permit: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/temporary-foreign-workers