Know your rights as a temporary worker in Canada: Many people from other countries come to Canada each year to work temporarily and gain important work experience. You have rights as a temporary foreign worker in Canada that your company must honor. Some laws and rules make sure you get fair pay, health insurance, and a safe place to work. Make sure you know what your rights are as a temporary worker in Canada before you get there.
How to Get a Job in Canada as a Temporary Foreign Worker
People who want to come to Canada to work have several choices. Both the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP) help people from other countries come to Canada to work. One thing that all of these programs have in common is that a foreign worker must already have a job offer from a Canadian company to be qualified. In most cases, you need a job offer to get a work permit. However, there are exceptions, such as open work permits for foreign students who just graduated, youth exchange workers, and spouses of Canadians.
In this piece, we’ll talk about the rights you have if you get a work permit through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program. To get a work permit through either of these schemes, foreigners must have a job offer. The job offer will be looked at through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process for TFWP participants. Since the IMP doesn’t need LMIAs, companies will have to send in their job offer as part of the application process for all work permits through this program.
You can read our previous piece about open work permits in Canada if you want to learn about other ways to find work.
Protocol for Employer Compliance
For a Canadian company to hire casual foreign workers, they have to go through an application process and send the job offer to government officials for review. In this job offer, the employer will say what the job is, what the tasks will be, where the job will be, how many hours a week will be expected to be worked, and how much money will be paid. This information will be put on the application for a work permit and linked to the employee’s work permit information.
Once a work pass is given, both the employee and the employer have to follow the rules that come with it. Foreigners should know that if they break the rules of their past, they could hurt their chances of getting immigration in the future. However, foreigners should know that their Canadian employer must also follow the rules set out in the work permit and the accepted job offer.
Legally, the boss can’t pay the foreign worker less than what was agreed upon in the job offer, cut the number of hours worked each week, or ask the foreign worker to move or change jobs. Employers who hire foreign workers on a contract basis may be inspected to make sure they are meeting all of these requirements.
When hiring temporary foreign workers, a Canadian company must pay them at least the same wage that a Canadian would get for the same job. You can find out how much this job pays by looking at the National Occupational Classification (NOC) wage list for the job and comparing it to the area wage information if you have it.
Also, people hired through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) are always hired through one of two streams: the high-wage stream or the low-wage stream. The median average wage in each area is used to decide what jobs are high-wage and what jobs are low-wage. Low-wage jobs are those that pay less than the median provincial wage. High-wage jobs pay more than the median provincial wage.
|Province/Territory||Wages prior to May 31, 2023||Wages as of May 31, 2023|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||24.29||25.00|
|Prince Edward Island||21.63||22.50|
Rights of Low-Wage Workers
Temporary foreign workers who are hired through the high-wage stream are supposed to be able to pay for their housing and transportation, but this isn’t always the case for low-wage workers. Because of this, there are three places where low-wage workers can expect their employers to give them certain rights.
Housing: Employers must make sure that low-wage temporary foreign workers can find good, cheap housing. In some cases, the employer will make these adjustments, but in other cases, the employer will just make sure the workers can get to this. Total living costs can’t be more than 30% of a worker’s income before taxes.
Transportation: Employers must pay for low-wage temporary foreign workers’ travel from their home country to Canada and back to their home country at the end of the employment time. A worker can’t take this cost out of their pay.
Health insurance: Low-wage temporary foreign workers must have health insurance from their employers. Workers may be protected by provincial or territorial health insurance in some cases, but in most cases, the employer will have to buy private health insurance for the worker.
Study: With a new temporary policy that starts in June 2023 and lasts until June 27, 2026, workers can study full-time or part-time as long as their work permits are still good or until the policy ends. There are no limits on how long the program can last. This temporary measure is for people who are allowed to work and have a current work permit or have applied to renew their work permit before June 7, 2023. A foreign worker will still need to apply for a study pass if they want to study for longer than their work permit allows.
Job Duties and Conditions of Work
All workers in Canada, including casual foreign workers, are protected by the law from being taken advantage of. Most jobs are covered by local and territorial laws that protect workers’ rights when it comes to hours, working conditions, pay, and leaving a job. Any worker who thinks their company has treated them unfairly can go to the Ministry of Labour to find out how to take action against their boss.
Also, all temporary foreign workers must be protected by a provincial, territorial, or private insurance plan for workplace safety, or something similar.
How to get a work permit?
If you think you would be a good addition to a team at work in Canada, you might want to think about getting a Canadian work pass. There are two kinds of work permits: open permits, which let you work for any company, and closed permits, which only let you work for one employer.
If you’re thinking about making Canada your permanent home, you might also want to look into immigration programs for skilled workers who want to become permanent residents of Canada. For example, the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program, which is part of the Express Entry system, lets foreign workers move to Canada and gives them the right to live and work anywhere in the country!
- Fair Pay
- Wage Streams
- Housing, Transportation, and Health Insurance
- Study Opportunities
- Workplace Safety
- Different Work Permits
1. What are the rights of temporary foreign workers in Canada?
Temporary foreign workers in Canada have rights that include fair pay, access to health insurance, and a safe work environment. Employers are obligated to uphold these rights.
2. How can I get a job in Canada as a temporary foreign worker?
To work in Canada as a temporary foreign worker, you generally need a job offer from a Canadian company. This requirement applies to programs like the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).
3. Are there any exceptions to the job offer requirement for work permits?
Yes, some exceptions exist, such as open work permits for foreign students, youth exchange workers, and spouses of Canadians. These individuals may not require a job offer to obtain a work permit.
4. What is the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, and how does it relate to work permits?
The LMIA process is part of the TFWP and involves assessing the job offer to ensure it meets specific criteria. For the IMP, job offers are submitted as part of the application process for work permits.
5. What are the rules and responsibilities for both employers and employees after obtaining a work permit?
Both employers and employees must adhere to the rules outlined in the work permit and the accepted job offer. Failure to do so can have implications for future immigration opportunities.
6. Is there a minimum wage requirement for temporary foreign workers in Canada?
Canadian employers must pay temporary foreign workers at least the same wage as Canadian workers for equivalent jobs. Wage information is typically determined based on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) wage list.
7. What are high-wage and low-wage streams for temporary foreign workers, and how are they determined?
Temporary foreign workers are categorized into high-wage and low-wage streams based on the median provincial wage in their area. High-wage jobs pay more than the median, while low-wage jobs pay less.
8. What are the rights of low-wage workers, particularly regarding housing, transportation, and health insurance?
Employers of low-wage temporary foreign workers are responsible for ensuring affordable housing, covering travel expenses to and from Canada, and providing health insurance.
9. Can temporary foreign workers in Canada study, and are there any restrictions?
A temporary policy introduced in June 2023 allows temporary foreign workers to study full-time or part-time as long as their work permits are valid or until the policy ends. There are no specific time limits, but additional study permits may be required for extended studies.
10. What protections do temporary foreign workers have concerning job duties and working conditions?
Temporary foreign workers, like all workers in Canada, are protected by local and territorial laws governing hours, working conditions, pay, and job termination. They can seek assistance from the Ministry of Labour if they believe their rights are violated.
11. Are there workplace safety protections for temporary foreign workers?
Temporary foreign workers must be covered by a provincial, territorial, or private insurance plan for workplace safety, ensuring their safety on the job.
12. What types of work permits are available for temporary foreign workers in Canada?
There are two main types of work permits: open permits, which allow work for any employer and closed permits, which restrict employment to a specific employer.