Foreign Worker’s Employment Rights is an essential topic to touch upon with the rise of foreign nationals immigrating to Canada for work opportunities. Moreover, according to Canadian regulations, each Canadian has the right to equality in the workplace. They deserve a discrimination-free environment.
Foreign Worker’s Employment Rights- Canadian legislation
The legislation of the Canadian federal government dictates the Canada Labour Code, which further outlines the employer’s and worker’s rights and responsibilities. However, these apply to the sectors under federal regulations—for instance, banks and telecommunication organizations. The remaining occupations fall under provincial and territorial laws. Moreover, each and every province or territory will operate through its separate workforce and employment laws. These laws will revolve around the number of working hours and conditions and fair payment.
Additionally, Canada has the Employment Equity Act, along with the Federal Contractor’s Program. Both these initiatives enable employers to work toward enhancing employment opportunities for certain Canadian groups. Specifically, these require businesses and firms under federal regulations to offer women, individuals suffering from disabilities, and visible minority groups of people, equal opportunities.
Foreign Worker’s Employment Rights at the workplace
Generally, Canadian laws protect all workers residing in Canada, and this includes foreign national workers too. Further, this indicates they have the right to attain work compensation, a safe working environment, and hold their work permit and passport.
These foreign workers must remember that the employer will require to provide them with an employment agreement on or before their joining date. Additionally, the agreement must incorporate essential details regarding the worker’s wage, occupation, and working conditions. The worker and their employer must mutually agree and sign their contract, which must be either in English or French.
The foreign national worker’s employer must also provide them with a valid reason before canceling a job agreement. If supposedly, they fail to provide any valid for the same; they must make the termination payment. The termination pay will depend upon the foreign worker’s work experience with that employer and the province or territory where they might be located for work.
Workplace safety and health
A Canadian employer must ensure they offer a safe and secure working environment to the foreign worker. Also, they must provide them with solid training for the particular job, keeping the employee’s safety in mind. This might even comprise the training session regarding the use of specific machinery and equipment whenever required.
Foreign workers must remember that they can’t be compelled to work under any threatening situation or something they find dangerous. Moreover, the employer can’t reject the payment of a person who refuses to work in a hazardous circumstance.
Employees also have the right to report any impending danger at their workplace to their employer. Also, in such a scenario, the employer must consider it a serious matter and act accordingly.
The worker needs to understand that they may refuse to work until there’s a mutual agreement between the employee and employer based on the following terms:
- The threatening situation no longer exists and has been looked into critically.
- In case the worker has acquired the necessary training and equipment.
Creating an abuse-free workplace
The employer must take the initiative to build a workplace for foreign workers which is free of abuse. Furthermore, this indicates that the concerned employer or another person playing the role of an employer doesn’t have the right to exploit the worker financially, sexually, physically, and psychologically.
The Canadian government’s website officially informs workers that any circumstance under which the worker feels afraid, controlled, or isolated might be subject to abuse. For instance, have a close look at the following points:
- Regular threats or insults.
- A sexual touch that is against your liking.
- Any kind of physical harm.
- Trying to dominate the fact about who you can meet and where you can go.
- Any kind of theft.
- Not giving back the money which they owe to you and keeping it to themselves.
- Possess your identification documents like a passport or work permit. Refusing to return them to you.
- Compelling you to work for any fraudulent business.
- Threatening you with job dismissal, demotion, or disciplinary measures in case you report their non-compliance. Further, they tend to warn you on filing about working conditions and abuse.
Foreign Worker’s Employment Rights- making changes at the workplace
Any employer might undergo challenging situations where they might have to make changes to accommodate the new foreign workers. They might have to be extra careful to prevent any kind of ill-treatment or discrimination at the workplace. This way, the employee will feel safe to continue their work. This is basically an attempt on the employer’s part to abolish any kind of discrimination in the workplace.
The Canadian Human Rights Act dictates the following eleven grounds of discrimination:
- National or ethnic origin;
- Marital Status;
- Family Status;
- Sexual Orientation;
- Suspended record, or a former conviction for which the worker has already been pardoned; and
Employment challenges- whom to report?
For instance, an employer instructs the worker to undertake a dangerous task, under unsafe conditions or in the case of injury or illness due to work. The employee must report all such situations to the health and safety of the province or territory.
Likewise, they must contact the Employment Standards Office if they feel they are receiving poor treatment unfair payment, or if the employer disrespects the mutual employment contract. This means they might be acting against the mutual contract or employment agreement.
Usually, territories and provinces offer employees compensation benefits. These benefits indicate the compensation for lost wages when the employee is sick or injured because of work. An employer can’t legally refrain the worker from claiming compensation.