I came to Canada as a domestic worker. What are my rights?
Question & AnswerI came to Canada as a domestic worker. What are my rights?
3. Complain if your employer breaks the law
Employers often don't pay domestic workers what they owe them, make them work too long, or ignore other rights. If your employer is not following Ontario's employment rules, you can:
- talk to the Caregivers Action Centre
- complain to the Ministry of Labour
- leave your job
- contact a community legal clinic
Making a complaint
If your employer breaks the law, you have 2 years to complain to the Ministry. You cannot complain after this time has passed.
To complain to the Ministry, you fill out an online form. The Ministry can order your employer to pay you what they owe you, give back any property they took from you, or start respecting your rights.
Making a complaint with the Ministry of Labour can be complicated. These organizations can help you for free:
- the Caregivers’ Action Centre
- the Workers’ Action Centre. There are many ways to contact them, including by phone at 416-531-0778.
- your local community legal clinic. You can find your local clinic by calling Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or looking on their website.
The Ministry of Labour's Employment Standards Information Centre can help you understand your rights. Call them at 1-800-531-5551. For TTY, call 1-866-567-8893.
Leaving your job
You can quit your job. Your employer cannot have you deported from Canada if you quit. You can stay in Canada for as long as your work permit says you can.
But there are risks to quitting your job. This is because most domestic workers come to Canada with employer-specific work permits. Sometimes these are called closed work permits. This means that you can only work for the employer named on your work permit.
If you leave your job while you're on a closed work permit, you cannot work for another employer unless you get another work permit. You can apply for another closed work permit if you can find an employer in Ontario to hire you. But this can be difficult.
A community legal clinic may be able to help you if you need to apply for a new work permit.