I came to Canada to pick and harvest crops. What are my rights?
Question & AnswerI came to Canada to pick and harvest crops. What are my rights?
This information is for people who came to Canada to pick fruit or harvest vegetables. If you came to Canada to grow plants or care for animals, see I came to Canada to work on a farm. What are my rights?
Many people who harvest or pick crops are temporary foreign workers. See I’m a temporary foreign worker. What are my rights?
Temporary foreign workers are also called migrant workers.
Employers use different words when talking about people who harvest or pick crops like fruit, vegetables, and tobacco. Some examples are harvesters, pickers, harvesting hands, or harvesting labourers.
It does not matter what you're called. What does matter is the type of work you're doing. Step 1 has more information to help you figure this out.
Rights you have
Harvesters have the right to get:
- a minimum wage that's different from what other workers in Ontario get
- vacation pay, which is time off for vacations after you've worked for your employer for 13 weeks
- public holiday pay, which is time off on public holidays after you've worked for your employer for 13 weeks
- notice in writing if you’re fired or pay instead of notice
And you might also have the right to these leaves from work:
- pregnancy and parental leave
- sick leave
- domestic or sexual violence leave
- family responsibility leave, family caregiver leave, family medical leave, and critical illness leave
- bereavement leave and child death or disappearance leave
Rights you do not have
You do not have the right to:
- limits on how many hours you work in a day
- limits on how much you work in a week
- overtime pay
- rest periods or meal breaks during your workday
- time off between your shifts
- days off every week or every 2 weeks
To get a job, you need a work permit. Most people must apply for a work permit before they come to Canada. The 2 types of work permits are:
- closed work permits
- open work permits
A closed work permit tells you:
- the name of the employer you can work for, and
- how long you can work for them.
An open work permit allows you to work for almost any employer who will hire you, unless they:
- are on a government list for not following the rules, or
- regularly offer striptease, erotic dance, escort services, or erotic massages.
Most work permits are closed work permits.
Get help and support
If you think your employer is not following the law, it's a good idea to get help from a group that supports temporary foreign workers, for example:
- Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, which operates a phone line at 647-782-6633
- Agricultural Workers Alliance
- your local community legal clinic, which you can find by calling Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or looking on their website
- C.A.R.E for International Workers, which you can contact by phone at 519-253-3526 or by using WhatsApp at 226-935-7772