I came to Canada to pick and harvest crops. What are my rights?

2. Learn how much you’ll be paid

Your employment contract includes information about your hours of work and pay.

There are different rules about pay for harvesters than for other people in Ontario. The law says that harvesters can be paid a “piece” rate. This means that how much you make depends on how much food you harvest. You get paid for each piece or pound of food you pick.

Figuring out what you’ll be paid

Your boss decides what rate you'll be paid. The rate must be equal to what an average worker in your part of Ontario would earn if they're paid the minimum wage. In Ontario, the minimum wage is now $15 an hour but it sometimes changes.

For example, you might be paid 35 cents for each pound of cherries that you pick. This is legal as long as the average worker could make at least $15 an hour picking them at this rate.

Because there's no standard rate that applies to everyone in Ontario, it's hard for harvesters to know how much they should be paid. Different farms pay different rates. And all employers will say that an average worker could make minimum wage at the rate they set.

What your employer can take from your pay

Your employer can count the food and housing they give you as part of your if you eat the food and live in the housing.

Here are the amounts they can take from your wages:

What you get What your employer can charge
housing with a kitchen, 2 rooms, and your own washroom $99.35 a week if your employer pays for light, heat, fuel, water, gas, or electricity
housing with a kitchen, 2 rooms, and your own washroom $73.30 a week if your employer does not pay for light, heat, fuel, water, gas, or electricity
a private room $31.70 a week
a room you share $15.85 a week
food $2.55 a meal and no more than $53.55 a week
food and a private room $85.25 a week
food and a room you share $69.40 a week

You must agree in writing to have these charges taken from your pay. And your employer must include these amounts in your pay statement.

Travel and cost of hiring

Most employers cannot take money from their workers to pay for the cost of hiring them. This includes the cost of plane tickets and other travel costs to and from Canada.

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