I’m a temporary foreign worker. What are my rights?

2. Know about your rights

The rights you have depend on your job. There are special rules for:

  • domestic workers, like nannies, cleaners, and other people who work in their employer's homes
  • farm employees, who plant food, care for animals, and do other types of farm work
  • harvesters, who pick fruit, tobacco, and vegetables

Employment standard laws

Most temporary foreign workers are protected by Ontario's Employment Standards Act. This law says what the minimum wage is, what breaks you must have, and which vacation days you get.

Minimum wage

Most temporary foreign workers get a minimum wage. It's now $15 an hour in Ontario but changes from time to time.

But this does not apply to farm workers. And there are special rules about how much harvesters are paid.

Breaks

Many temporary foreign workers have the right to breaks at work, including lunch breaks and breaks between shifts. But this does not apply to workers such as harvesters and farm workers.

Vacation days

Most temporary foreign workers have a right to paid vacation days. This does not apply to farm workers. Harvesters get vacation pay, but with some special rules.

Safety at work

Most temporary foreign workers are protected by Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act. This law says what an employer must do to keep the workplace safe. For example, employers must:

  • train workers about dangers at work
  • warn workers about special risks, such as dangerous machinery or toxic substances, like poisons or cleaning products that can hurt workers or the environment

This law does not apply to domestic workers when they’re working in their employer’s home.

If your workplace is not safe, you can report this to the Ministry of Labour. If you refuse to do work because it's not safe and your employer punishes you for this, read Step 3 to find out what you can do.

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