Understanding the Rights and Responsibilities of a Temporary Worker

23 Mar 2023

Canada has long been known as a country that is welcoming to immigrants, including temporary foreign workers. In fact, there are many rules designed to make sure temporary foreign workers have a positive experience in Canada. As a temporary foreign worker in Canada, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities. Knowing what you are entitled to and what is expected of you will help make your time in Canada a success!

Please note: Immigration regulations are subject to change, and we cannot guarantee that this information is up-to-date. For up-to-date information, please visit the Government of Canada's website or speak with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant.


Rights of Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

Temporary foreign workers are covered by Canadian law, which safeguards the rights of all workers. You have the same protections as Canadians and permanent residents, regardless of your immigration status.


As a temporary foreign worker in Canada, you have the right to:


Be paid

Your employer must pay you for your work as stated in your employment agreement. This includes overtime work if it is included as part of your agreement. They must comply with provincial and federal laws regarding hours of work and overtime pay.


A Safe and Healthy Workplace

Your employer can not give you tasks that are not safe. Your employer is not allowed to fire you or stop paying you for saying no to an unsafe job. You are allowed to refuse the work until you and the employer agree that there is no more safety problem.

Your employer needs to follow safety laws. They must pay for the training and safety equipment you need to be safe. This is very important, especially if you work with chemicals.

For more information on reporting unsafe work, click here.


Not be discriminated against and a workplace free of abuse

You deserve to be treated fairly and with respect at work, no matter what your race, gender, religion, or any other factor. Employers should make sure your workplace is safe and free from any kind of harm, including physical, sexual, mental, or financial harm. Your employer or anyone who works for them should never hurt or punish you for telling them about something that's wrong. If you ever feel afraid, controlled, or alone because of something happening at work, it might be considered abuse.

For more information on harassment and violence, click here.


Be informed of your employment conditions

Employers are required to provide you with a written employment contract that outlines the terms and conditions of your employment on or before the first day of work. It must be in English or French (your chosen official language while in Canada). Both you and your employer must sign this agreement.


Rest periods and breaks

Taking breaks and resting during work is important to have a healthy and effective workplace. It is the employer's job to give enough breaks and rest time as the law requires. These breaks and rest periods serve to ensure that employees are not overworked and can maintain their physical and mental well-being, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

For more information about rest periods and breaks, click here.


If you lose your job

Employers must provide reasonable notice before laying off employees. If they fail to do so, they must pay termination pay based on the length of employment and location. Those who lose their job through no fault of their own or due to abuse may qualify for Employment Insurance benefits.

For information about Employment Insurance visit the EI regular benefits page.


Access to healthcare

You have the right to access healthcare services in Canada, including medical treatment and emergency services. In the majority of cases, you are not required to pay for medical appointments or hospital treatment in Canada.

For more information on Canada’s healthcare, click here.


Changing Employers

You can change jobs, but your work permit may only let you work for your current employer. If you want to work for a new employer, you may need to apply for a new work permit, and your new employer would need to apply for a new Labour Market Impact Assessment from the Canadian government. This could mean going through the approval process again.

For more information on changing jobs or employers, click here.


Housing Rights

Workers in the Low-Wage and Primary Agriculture streams: If your job is in the Low-Wage LMIA category or in agriculture, your employer should give you a good and affordable place to live. Your employer can require you to pay rent, electricity, and water, but rules typically make this much cheaper than normal rent in Canada.

Workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program: If you're employed through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, your employer must provide you with appropriate housing without charge (except in British Columbia, where they can deduct housing costs from your pay). Your employment agreement should detail all allowable deductions, which vary depending on the province. For individuals from the Caribbean or  Mexico, housing and utility expenses should be included in their contracts.

For more information on housing rights, click here.


Responsibilities as a Temporary Foreign Worker in Canada

As a temporary foreign worker in Canada, you also have certain responsibilities. These include:

  • Complying with Canadian laws: You must comply with all Canadian laws, including those related to employment, immigration, and taxation.

  • Reporting to work on time: You are expected to report to work on time and be reliable.

  • Following workplace policies and procedures: You must follow the policies and procedures established by your employer, including those related to safety, attendance, and performance.

  • Respecting Canadian culture and values: You are expected to respect Canadian culture and values, including the rights of others and the laws of the land.

  • Paying taxes: You are required to pay taxes on your income earned in Canada.

  • Leaving Canada at the end of your work permit: You are required to leave Canada when your work permit expires, unless you apply for an extension or apply for permanent residence.

  • If you have a work permit that’s about to expire or that you need to change, you must apply to extend it or change the conditions on it.

You should apply to extend your work permit at least 30 days before your current permit expires.

If your work permit expires while your application is being processed, find out if you can keep working or consult with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant.


As a temporary foreign worker in Canada, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities. By knowing what is expected of you and what you are entitled to, you can ensure that your experience in Canada is a positive one. If you have any concerns or questions about your rights or responsibilities, there are resources available to help you, including government agencies, community organizations, and legal services. Ready to ensure your experience as a temporary foreign worker in Canada is a positive one? Contact us now to speak with an experienced immigration consultant who can help you navigate your rights and responsibilities.