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?
5. Tell someone if your employer abuses you
Harvesters often live on their employer's property and many don't speak English. They have less money, less power, and rarely have permanent status in Canada. This makes it easy for employers to abuse you and threaten to have you deported from Canada.
Many harvesters are abused by their employer or their employer's family. This includes:
If your life is in danger or you need help right away, call 911.
If your employer is abusing you, you can contact Service Canada's tip line at 1-866-602-9448. It's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You don't have to give your name.
If it's not safe to keep living with your employer, you can leave and rent your own place. But, you need to tell your employer before you leave what date you're moving out.
You can also quit your job without being deported. If you're being abused at work, the government of Canada lets you apply for an open work permit so that you can legally search for another job. It can take as long as 6 months to get this permit.
If you need help, these organizations can help you for free:
- Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, which operates a phone line at 647-782-6633
- 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.
If your employer treats you badly because of your race, sex, or nationality, or for other related reasons, you may be able to go to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The Tribunal can order your employer to:
- pay you money because they discriminated against you, or
- stop saying or doing things to you.
The Tribunal has a list of forms you can use depending on the type of complaint you’re making.
Making a complaint to the Tribunal can be difficult. It's a good idea to ask for help from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
Read more about sexual harassment at work in What can I do if I’ve been sexually harassed at work?
Read more information about racial discrimination at work in What can I do if I’m discriminated against because of my race?