I came to Canada as a domestic worker. What are my rights?
Domestic workers do many different tasks, including cleaning, cooking, and caring for children, older people, and people with disabilities.
Employers use different names when talking about their domestic workers, such as cleaners, maids, or nannies. It does not matter what you're called. What does matter is the type of work you're doing. Step 1 has more information.
Domestic workers are a type of temporary foreign worker. See I’m a temporary foreign worker. What are my rights?
Temporary foreign workers are also called migrant workers.
All temporary foreign workers must sign an employment contract before coming to Canada. And the Canadian government must agree that an employer can hire someone from outside Canada.
Some domestic workers come to Canada as part of the Live-in Caregiver Program.
Your employer must make sure that you have:
- health insurance
- an affordable place to live
You also have the right to:
- get minimum wage, vacation pay, and overtime pay
- be paid on a regular schedule
- get written pay statements
- be paid for public holidays
- get notice in writing if you’re fired or pay instead of notice
- have daily rest periods
You also have the right to work no more than 48 hours in a week. Normally, you only have to work 8 hours a day. But you can agree to work longer in your employment contract.
Leaves from work
You have the right to the following leaves from work:
- pregnancy and parental leave
- sick leave, family responsibility leave, family caregiver leave, family medical leave, and critical illness leave
- child death or disappearance leave
- bereavement leave
- domestic or sexual violence leave
Enforcing your rights
It can be difficult for domestic workers to make sure that their employer follows the law.
Unlike most workers in Ontario, domestic workers are not protected by the Occupation Health and Safety Act when working on their employer's property. Your employer must still provide a safe workplace. But if you refuse to do work that's not safe, you might be fired.
Getting support and legal help
If you need legal help, these organizations can help you for free: