I came to Canada to work on a farm. What are my rights?
Question & AnswerI came to Canada to work on a farm. What are my rights?
4. Complain if your employer breaks the law
Employers often take money and property from farm workers, don't pay them enough, and ignore their rights. If this happens to you, you can complain to Ontario’s Ministry of Labour.
The Ministry can order your employer to pay you what they owe you, give back your property, or stop ignoring your rights.
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.
Making a complaint with the Ministry of Labour can be complicated. These organizations can help you for free:
- Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, which operates a phone line at 647-782-6633
- Agricultural Workers Alliance
- 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 and the complaint process. Call them at 1-800-531-5551. For TTY, call 1-866-567-8893.
If an employer takes your money or property
If you came to Canada through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, your employer can take money from your pay to cover the cost of your flight or work permit. But if you came to Canada through another program like the Agricultural Stream, you employer cannot do this.
This means that your employer cannot take money from you to pay for the cost of hiring you, including the cost of air travel. And they cannot take your property, including your passport.
If your employer did any of these things, answer “yes” when the Ministry's complaint form asks if you're filing a claim under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act. This is question 7 on the Ministry’s form.