COVID-19: Workers’ Rights

In Canada, the rights of all workers, including temporary foreign workers, are protected by law. Learn how labour and occupational health and safety legislation supports those rights.

This guidance is also available for download in Spanish.

Get COVID-19 guidance for temporary foreign workers.

COVID-19: Workers’ Rights Infographic and its text description

Infographic: COVID-19: Workers’ Rights

Description: COVID-19: Workers’ Rights

Your Rights are Protected by Law in Canada

Temporary foreign workers in Canada are protected by labour and occupational health and safety legislation.

Your employer must

  • Make sure you have a safe workplace
  • Pay you for your work
  • Give you break time and days off work
  • Respect the terms of your written contract

For employers required to provide housing, make sure it is adequate, suitable and affordable.

You employer cannot

  • Take away your passport or work permit
  • Have you deported from Canada or change your immigration status

If you have specific questions contact the employment or labour standards office in your province or territory.

Your Rights are Protected by Law in Canada

All workers in Canada have these three rights:

  1. Right to know
    • About hazards in the workplace, including potential exposure to COVID-19, and how to protect yourself.
  2. Right to participate
    • Through your health and safety representative or committee.
    • By discussing health and safety concerns with your supervisor.
  3. Right to refuse unsafe work
    • That you believe is dangerous to your health and safety or that of another worker.
      • Immediately report work refusals to your supervisor and follow the specific steps for your province or territory.

Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention

  • Your employer should have a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy and program that describes what is considered appropriate behaviour at your work site.
  • Contact the police for criminal matters (e.g., violent acts, sexual assaults, threats, and stalking).

Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19

Follow all public health guidance.

  • Isolate or quarantine
    • when you first arrive in Canada, if you have symptoms, if you have been exposed to someone who is sick, or if you test positive for COVID-19.
  • Screen daily for COVID-19 symptoms
    • if you feel sick, wear a mask, tell your supervisor, and stay away from others.
  • Maintain physical distancing
    • maintain the greatest physical distance possible from other people (at least 2 metres).
  • Practice good hygiene
    • wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Wear a non-medical mask
    • when close to other people, or when required by your employer.
  • Clean and disinfect often
    • surfaces that are shared and touched a lot.

Human Rights

  • Human rights are protected by federal, provincial, and territorial laws.
  • Laws protect individuals from discrimination based on grounds such as race, national origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, and marital status.
  • For additional information contact the human rights agency in your province or territory.

Questions and Concerns

If you have any questions or concerns about your rights, you can discuss with your:

Any potential abuse or misuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by employers can be reported to the Government of Canada.

If you want to speak to someone anonymously, call the Service Canada Tip Line at 1-866-602-9448

For further information on COVID-19, refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada

Resources

CCOHS

Canadian Human Rights Commission

Government of Canada

Document last updated on: 2021-02-24