International Mobility Program – Get to know your rights while working in Canada

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In Canada, the rights of all workers—including temporary foreign workers—are protected by law. If you are a temporary foreign worker, you have the same rights and workplace protections as Canadians and permanent residents.

Your rights

Your employer must

Your employer can’t

Your employment agreement

Before you apply for a work permit, your employer must give you a copy of your employment agreement. It must be in English or French - your chosen official language while in Canada. Both you and your employer must sign this agreement. The employment agreement must refer to the same occupation, wages and working conditions as your job offer.

Access to health care services

You do not need your employer’s permission to seek health care.

If you are hurt or are sick at work

Tell your supervisor as soon as possible, and get medical attention. Your employer must allow you access to a health care provider (like a doctor, nurse or pharmacist) by, for example:

Your employer does not have to pay for you to get to a hospital, clinic, doctor or other health care service.

You can speak privately with a health care provider, without your employer.

Health and safety at work

Your employer can’t force you to do work that is dangerous. They can’t refuse to pay you for your work. Your employer must look into any danger that is reported at work. You have the right to refuse to do the work until you and your employer agree that:

Your employer must:

Most provinces and territories offer workers’ compensation benefits (payments to make up for lost wages) when workers are injured or sick because of their work.

Workplace free of abuse

Employers must provide a workplace that is free of abuse. Your employer or anyone acting on behalf of your employer can’t abuse you physically, sexually, psychologically or financially, or make reprisals.

Any behaviour that scares, controls or isolates you could be abuse.

Some examples of abuse:

To report an abusive situation, contact Service Canada’s confidential tip line at 1-866-602-9448. If you need help right away, call 9-1-1 or your local police.

If you think you’re being abused or at risk of being abused, you may be able to apply for an open work permit for vulnerable workers to help you leave an abusive work situation.

If you lose your job

If you lose your job, you may qualify to receive employment insurance benefits.

Changing employers

You are allowed to change employers. However, your work permit may only allow you to work for your current employer, so you may need to apply for a new work permit before you can start working for a different employer. Your new employer may have to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment or submit a job offer through the Employer Portal.

You can use the Government of Canada’s Job Bank to search for jobs with Canadian employers who want to hire temporary foreign workers.

How to get help

If your employer is breaking the rules of the International Mobility Program, or is abusing you or someone you know, you should report it.

Calling Service Canada’s tip line: 1-866-602-9448

  • This service is confidential. Service Canada will not tell your employer you called.
  • You can talk to a Service Canada agent in 1 of more than 200 languages.
  • You can leave an anonymous message to report your concerns. All calls are taken seriously and may be investigated.

You can also report abuse to Service Canada using this online form.

Changing jobs due to abuse or risk of abuse

If you think you are being abused or at risk of being abused, you may be eligible to apply for an open work permit for vulnerable workers. An open work permit lets you change jobs by giving you permission to work for almost any employer in Canada. More information is available for vulnerable foreign workers who are victims of abuse.

Getting assistance from a support organization for migrant workersFootnote 1

  • British Columbia
    • The Community Airport Newcomers Network welcomes temporary foreign workers at Vancouver International Airport, offering information and orientation sessions (604-270-0077).
    • MOSAIC offers services to temporary foreign workers (604-254-9626).
  • Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
    • The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society offers services to temporary foreign workers through their TFW Hub (1-888-331-1110) and their Community Support Services program (403-262-2006).
  • Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island
    • Kairos offers a variety of services to migrant workers and can connect you with support organizations near you.
  • Quebec
    • Immigrant Québec has a website for temporary foreign workers. A list of support organizations is included under the tab “Who can help?”

Reporting a workplace health or safety problem

Have you been asked to perform dangerous work? Are conditions at work unsafe? Have you been injured or sick because of your work? If so, contact your provincial or territorial workplace health and safety office:

Reporting other employment problems

Employees working in a federally regulated sector

Most industries in Canada are regulated by provincial or territorial governments, but some are regulated by the federal government. If your workplace is federally regulated, you can make a complaint online or by calling 1‑800‑641‑4049.

List of federally regulated industries and workplaces

If you think you’re not being properly paid or you’re being treated unfairly, or if your employer is not respecting your employment agreement, contact your provincial or territorial employment standards office:

Protection and help for victims of human trafficking

If you think you are a victim of human trafficking, or if you suspect or know of human trafficking activity, call

  • the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010 to be connected with support services or law enforcement in your community
  • Service Canada’s confidential tip line at 1-866-602-9448

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