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Temporary Work in Canada: Your Rights and Responsibilities

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Thurs, 21th Sept 2023

Every year, numerous foreign nationals come to Canada for temporary employment to gain valuable Canadian work experience. As a temporary foreign worker in Canada, you possess certain rights that your employer must uphold. Canada provides various options for individuals seeking employment in the country. Both the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP) facilitate the entry of foreign workers into Canada.

Generally, obtaining a work permit necessitates a job offer, although exceptions exist, such as open work permits available to recent international graduates, youth exchange workers, and spouses of Canadians. This article focuses on outlining the rights you can expect when you receive a work permit through either the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program.

Employer Compliance Guidelines

Canadian employers intending to hire temporary foreign workers must undergo an application process that entails submitting the employment offer for government review. The offer should detail the job position, expected job responsibilities, work location, weekly working hours, and the specified wage. This information becomes part of the work permit application and is linked to the employee's work permit details.

Once a work permit is issued, both the employee and the employer must adhere to the conditions outlined in the permit. Foreign nationals should be aware that violating these conditions can jeopardize all future immigration applications.

Simultaneously, Canadian employers are obligated to comply with the conditions stipulated in the work permit and the approved employment offer. Legally, employers cannot pay less than the agreed-upon wage, reduce weekly working hours, or request foreign workers to change their job location or position. Employers hiring temporary foreign workers may undergo compliance inspections to ensure adherence to these conditions.


When employing temporary foreign workers, Canadian employers are obligated to pay them at least the same wage that a Canadian worker would receive for the same job. This wage is determined by referring to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) wage listing for the position and cross-referencing it with regional wage data if available.

Province/Territory Wages prior to August 31, 2023 Wages as of August 31, 2023
Alberta 28.85 28.85
British Columbia 26.44 27.50
Manitoba 23.00 23.94
New Brunswick 21.79 23.00
Newfoundland and Labrador 24.29 25.00
Newfoundland and Labrador 24.29 25.00
Northwest Territories 37.30 38.00
Nova Scotia 22.00 22.97
Nunavut 36.00 35.90
Ontario 26.06 27.00
Prince Edward Island 21.63 22.50
Quebec 25.00 26.00
Saskatchewan 25.96 26.22
Yukon 32.00 35.00

Furthermore, employees hired through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) fall into two categories: high-wage and low-wage positions. The classification depends on whether the wage surpasses or falls below the median provincial wage. High-wage positions receive wages above the median, while low-wage positions receive wages below it.

Low-Wage Worker Protections

While high-wage temporary foreign workers are generally expected to financially support themselves for housing and transportation, low-wage workers may face challenges in this regard. Consequently, low-wage workers enjoy specific rights in three key areas:

Housing: Employers must ensure that low-wage temporary foreign workers have access to suitable and affordable housing. In some cases, the employer may provide accommodations, while in others, they must facilitate access. The housing cost should not exceed 30% of the worker's income before taxes.

Transportation: Employers are responsible for covering the transportation costs for low-wage temporary foreign workers traveling to and from their home country and Canada. These costs cannot be deducted from the employee's income.

Health Insurance: Employers must ensure that low-wage temporary foreign workers have adequate health insurance. While some workers may be covered by provincial or territorial health insurance, employers often need to arrange private health insurance for their employees.

Study Opportunities

As of June 2023, a temporary measure allows foreign workers with valid work permits or pending work permit renewal applications to study full-time or part-time in Canada

There are no restrictions on the program's duration. However, if a foreign worker wishes to study longer than their work permit permits, they must apply for a study permit.

Job Responsibilities and Working Conditions

All workers in Canada, including temporary foreign workers, are protected by labor laws to prevent exploitation. These laws cover various aspects of employment, such as working hours, employment conditions, compensation, and termination. Employees who believe they have been treated unfairly can seek guidance from the Ministry of Labour on taking action against their employer.

Additionally, all temporary foreign workers must be covered by a provincial or territorial workplace safety insurance plan or an equivalent private insurance plan.

How to Obtain a Work Permit

If you believe you can make a valuable contribution to the Canadian workforce, consider the possibility of obtaining a Canadian work permit.

Two types of work permits exist open work permits, which allow you to work for any employer, and closed work permits, which restrict you to a single employer.

Furthermore, if you plan to make Canada your permanent home, explore immigration programs designed for skilled workers, such as the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program within the Express Entry system. For more details on Temporary Skilled Worker do connect with us!

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