What is the Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers?

  • It is the last resource for workers who hold a closed work permit (employer-specific) and who are at risk of experiencing abuse or are already experiencing abuse with the employer they currently have a contract with 
  • Workers can apply while they are still working with the employer as well as after they have left the farm or workplace Note: The sooner you apply after leaving the farm, the better as IRCC might question why you didn’t apply right away.

How do we support you in this process?

  • We support you to prepare part of the application then we will refer you to a partner organization to finalize the application at no cost to you.  When possible we can refer you to a local organization in the province you are living wheter that is the province where the farm is or the province you are currently living.  .
  • We can assist you in writing your narrative if you have literacy limitations (your case can take a bit longer)
  • We write a letter of support for your case and follow up with you during the process until your case concludes (approved or refused) . We might be able to continue supporting you if you are refused depending on your case and if our partner organization makes a case for workers to reapply.
  • You need to write a narrative. This is a letter explaining  with as many details as possible including  who, when, where , how.  The more details the better, you need to paint  a picture for the immigration officer who will review your case and who might not be familiar with the conditions at the farm or workplace so it is important to give details and express your feelings in this letter. Use expressions like: I felt sad, angry, disappointed, etc.
  • Provide evidence: We need at least 3 pieces of evidence which can include, photos of you at work,  copy of work contract, paystubs, photos of working conditions, housing conditions or short videos preferably 1 minute or less, doctors notes, text with employer or human resources (HR), letter of support from witnesses such as friends and acquaintances, anything you can think it will support the details on your letter
    • You need to provide the following documents:
      • Copy of current work permit (If your permit has already expired you are not eligible to apply)
      • Copy of passport and visa (passport needs to be valid for at least a year  if is less than a year, you need to renew it before you can apply), but is your situation is dire and you need to leave your employer, you can apply for the open work permit, but it will only be approved for however many months you got left on your passport.
      • An active email address and best time to reach you.

How long does the process take?

  • The process can take anywhere from 1-3 months depending on many factors including if your narrative and supporting documents need to be translated
  • Your availability to provide documents and follow up on your case 
  • If the organization we will refer you to has a waiting list.

Important things to consider if you decide to apply:

  • You might no longer be able to participate in your country’s farm work program (Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program) as your liaison officer or consulate official might say you breached your contract by leaving the employer. This is not fair  and migrant workers like you are fighting for solutions to these unfair rules. If you want to know more on how you can join, let us know and an organizer will follow up with you. 
  • You need to have a plan if you are leaving your employer we are not able to support you  finding housing and it can be difficult and expensive. 
  • Make sure to put some money aside if you decide to leave your employer so you can support yourself while waiting for your permit to be processed.
  • Have a plan B in case your Work Permit is  refused.
  • An open work permit allows you to work in any job, anywhere in the country for any employer. You will not be part of a program that will connect you with an employer. 
  • Keep in mind that you will need to look for a job yourself. There are agencies that could help you with job search, but MWAC does not find employment for workers.

If you have read this document and think you qualify for the open work permit for vulnerable workers , please get in touch with us!

Farm Workers 905-324-2840 

Fishery workers 506 251 7467

Send a message with the code “Open Work Permit”, your full name, and the city you currently are and we will get back to you after September 5th as we currently have a waiting list for new cases.

For more details of what is considered  abuse, what types of evidence, who can apply  etc,  see the IRCC website: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/permit/temporary/vulnerable-workers.html