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Know Your Rights
Everybody deserves healthcare, but unfortunately the current system can make it difficult to access if you don't have provincial health insurance like OHIP. That's why we're uniting together to fight for permanent status for all, so that everyone can get the care they deserve.
Community Health Centres (CHCs) provide healthcare for people without insurance and immigration status. For a list of CHCs in Ontario, press this link. If you need help finding healthcare in your area, contact us for assistance. Everything you share is private and confidential.
Even if you're working without a valid work permit or Social Insurance Number (SIN), you still have rights! This includes human rights, health & safety, employment standards, and Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB).
But without status, it can feel scary to stand up for our rights. That's why we're uniting together to protect ourselves and fight for permanent resident status for all!
There is safety in numbers. If you're being mistreated or cheated at work, you're not alone! Get in touch with us for support.
If you are on the seasonal farmwork program, your work permit expires on December 15 every year (check your work permit if you're unsure). It is legal for you to stay in Canada until this date.
If you have a valid work permit (not expired) and want to stay in Canada longer you have 2 options:
- Apply for a visitor visa
- Tap here for more information about how to apply
- You should apply for this visa at least 2 months before your work permit expires.
- Apply for a work permit extension
- You must apply to extend your work permit at least 30 days before it expires. That means, if your permit expires on December 15, you must apply before November 15.
- Tap here for more information about what you need to do to apply.
- Most importantly, you must have a job offer from an employer with a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) - this means they have permission from the Canadian government to hire you as a migrant worker. Your employer must complete all the required steps (tap here for a link to employer requirements).
During COVID-19, the federal government changed rules around restoration of status because migrants like you organized! There was an extension of the restoration period, which meant that migrants who had valid status on or before January 2020 could apply for restoration until August 31, 2021.
Now, the extension has ended and you only have 90 days after your permit expires to apply for restoration. For many of us, 90 days have already passed since we lost status, and we cannot apply.
That’s not fair!
If you are in this situation, you are not alone. We are uniting to take action and win changes to unfair immigration rules - join us!
- Sign + share the petition to win permanent status for all migrants, including people like you with expired permits. Tap here to take action at StatusForAll.ca!
- Are you in the Toronto area? Join our drop-in meetings on December 1 from 4-7pm to connect and take action with others in the same situation as you!
- Send a WhatsApp message to Kit at 905-324-2840
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
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.
Fill out our private and confidential complaints form and contact us to talk about next steps.
Life is getting harder - the cost of food, medicine, and school fees are getting higher, while wages and opportunities are dropping. The rich are getting richer, while our families continue to suffer.
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is a migrant worker rights organization led by migrants; we are not a job placement agency and cannot help you find a job. We're fighting to change the laws in Canada so that you can get permanent resident status and pursue better opportunities to build a better life for you and your family!
You can use this Canadian government website to look for farms in Canada that are hiring, but may need to apply for your own work permit: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/temporary-foreign-workers. Beware of job & immigration scammers and recruiters who make big promises but will take advantage of you!
Last updated January 14, 2022 - Get in touch with us for the most recent information
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Currently the Canadian government makes it nearly impossible for migrant farm 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 for the programs below, 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!
Take action to win change here: StatusForAll.ca
Current permanent resident options for farm workers:
- Farmworkers in certain industries can apply for PR through the Agri-Food Pilot Program. Watch this video to learn about the requirements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dP5kXVg1w
- If you are married or have a common-law partner in Canada, you may be able to apply for a spousal sponsorship. To learn more, click this link to the government of Canada website.
- To learn about how the Provincial Nominee Program works, click this link to read more on the Canadian immigration website.
- Want to know more about applying through Express Entry? Click this link from the Government of Canada.
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?
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.
Migrant farm workers and other low-wage workers are even excluded from measures like open work permits for family members of migrant workers!
Tap here to read more about requirements for family open work permits: migrantworkersalliance.org/fw-fowp
It's not fair, you deserve to be together with your loved ones.
That's why migrant workers across Canada are demanding status for all now so we can be with our families! Send a WhatsApp message to 905-324-2840 to learn how you can join the fight.
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!
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?
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.
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.
There are limited options to make official complaints safely. We can support you to raise your concerns in other ways, and by joining with other workers to make change. Together we are uniting to win permanent status for all, so that we can have the power to speak up and protect ourselves!
Fill out our private and confidential complaints form below and message us to discuss next steps.
Current laws make it too easy for bosses 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!
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 (Tap the blue letters)
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