Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

UFCW Canada welcomes new initiative to counter migrant worker abuse

June 6, 2019  By UFCW

UFCW Canada, the country’s leading advocate and union for migrant and temporary workers, welcomes a new government work permit initiative to protect migrant workers across Canada from abusive employers.

Effective June 4, 2019, migrant workers experiencing physical, sexual, psychological, or financial abuse can apply for an open work permit as a means of protection against an abusive employer.

All migrant workers in all sectors who are facing abuse are eligible to apply for this new protection, including those under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program.


For more than three decades, UFCW Canada has led the fight for the rights of migrant workers in all sectors. In collaboration with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada operates a national, on-the-ground network of Worker Support Centres with staff and volunteers, helping thousands of migrant workers to navigate and enforce their current legal rights and entitlements, as well as providing Health and Safety and Know Your Rights training.

As the country’s leading advocate for migrant worker rights, UFCW has called upon the federal and provincial governments for a number of reforms – including access to collective bargaining in all jurisdictions; full coverage under Occupational Health and Safety statutes; and for a pathway to permanent residency. In addition, UFCW Canada has led legal challenges on behalf of migrant workers before provincial courts, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

During the development of the open work permit initiative, UFCW provided feedback through a series of in-person consultations held across Canada between UFCW migrant worker members and federal government representatives.

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