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The Rights of a Temporary Foreign Worker in Canada

Austin Campbell

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Temporary Foreign Worker in Canada

Canada has extensive human rights laws that even apply to foreigners who are visiting temporarily for work. Foreign nationals working in Canada are accorded the same rights and protections as citizens and permanent residents through the programs of Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). This means that if you are a foreign worker, your employer must abide by the protections outlined by the TFWP and IMP or risk legal consequences. These rights are protected by force of law.

Temporary Foreign Worker Rights in Canada

The rights of foreign workers can be divided into two categories: what employers must do to comply with regulations and laws, and what businesses CANNOT do to comply.

What An Employer Must Do in Accordance With the Rights of a Worker?


The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) permits an employer:

  • To inform you of all your rights;
  • Give you a copy of your employment contract that has been signed before or on your first day of work;
  • Compensation for your job, including overtime, in accordance with your employment contract;
  • Make all necessary efforts to ensure that you have a safe workplace;
  • Observe the province’s or territory’s hiring and hiring criteria or standards;
  • Provide you with the necessary tools and training to complete your job safely, including how to operate any machinery or equipment;
  • Ensure that you have access to healthcare at work by taking appropriate steps.
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What an Employer Must Not Do in Accordance With the Rights of a Worker?

The list also specifies what should be avoided by the employer in accordance with your rights:

  • Force you to work if it does not authorize you to do;
  • Compel you to work while being ill or damaged;
  • Make you put in extra hours (overtime against contract);
  • Punish you for speaking up about abuse, dangerous work conditions, substandard housing, or for assisting a government employee with an inspection;
  • Withhold your passport from you;
  • Change your immigration status or deport you from Canada;
  • Have them pay back any money they may have incurred in order to hire you for recruitment purposes.

What If An Employer Fails to Comply?

If the TFWP or IMP standards are not met by your employer, they will be held legally liable.

  • IRCC will issue a notice to your employer if they are found in breach;
  • Receive fines of as much as $100,000 per offence, up to a maximum of $1 million per year;
  • Have their business information posted on the IRCC website with all the details of breach;
  • Cancellation or suspension of previously granted Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs);
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Elimination of TFWP or IMP membership if they are unable to re-join.

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