Labour Rights & WSIB


Know your rights as a foreign worker, how to protect yourself and others in the workplace and what to do if an accident, injury or illness should occur on the job.

The Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) is a set of laws to keep workers in Ontario protected while doing their job. It is founded on 3 basic rights that you have as an employee:

  1. The right to know if there are any health hazards or risks involved in performing duties, using equipment, chemical exposure, or environmental conditions
  2. The right to participate by voicing your concerns about a hazard
  3. The right to refuse work if it is unsafe, or proper training or protective equipment has not been made available
  4. Learn more about your rights here and where to seek help if you feel your rights are being violated.

Understand your rights as a foreign worker – Government of Canada

If you experience issues:

1. Read your employment contract and refer to the SAWP Guidebook

2. Tell your supervisor or employer

3. If issues are not resolved, contact your Liaison Officer

4. If you still require assistance, consider an advocacy organization

Do you know how to identify dangerous chemicals?

Watch this short video to learn how to safely use, store, dispose of and protect yourself from hazardous products

Ministry of Labour

It is against the law for your employer to fire or discipline you for refusing unsafe work or missing work due to a work-related illness, etc. If you have unfairly lost wages or face dismissal, speak with your supervisor, liaison officer or consulate. If the issue is unresolved you can contact the Ontario Labour Relations Board, Office of the Worker Advisor (OWA) at 1-855-659-7744 or visit their website.

If you think you may have work-related health problems, you may call Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) toll-free at 1-877-817-0336. At an OHCOW clinic a medical doctor will assess you and decide if the health problem is work-related. Your medical information is confidential and you do not need an Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card. Services are offered in many languages.


  If you are injured at work and the incident involves health care treatment and/or time away from work, or lost wages, your employer must report your injury/illness to the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) within three days of the incident. This can be done online or toll-free at 1-800-387-0750.To talk to the WSIB in Spanish or another language call toll-free at 1 800 465 5606

  As a worker, you can claim benefits for a work-related injury or accident if you have received medical care, lost time or wages after the day of the incident, or continued to work, but on partial hours only. A WSIB claim must be filed within six months of your injury or the onset of your illness. Access the online form that workers must complete.

ESA Exclusions

The Employment Standards Act sets guidelines for minimum wages, deductions and benefits. Workers in the SAWP and TFWP agricultural stream are entitled to some rights under the OHSA and the ESA, but there are some specific exemptions for farm workers. A farm employee is a person employed on a farm whose work is a direct part of the primary production of certain agricultural products. Primary production includes planting crops, cultivating, pruning, feeding and caring for certain livestock.

Rights under the ESA

  • regular payment of wages and wage statements
  • leaves of absence
  • termination notice and / or pay and severance pay
  • equal pay for equal work

This does not apply to you if you work on a farm:

  • harvesting fruit, vegetables or tobacco for wholesale, retail sale or storage
  • breeding or boarding horses

This does apply to you if you work on a farm growing or producing eggs, milk, grain, seeds, fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, maple products, honey, tobacco, herbs, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, deer, elk, ratites, bison, rabbits, game birds, wild boar and cultured fish.

Special rules or exemptions

You are not entitled to:

  • minimum wage
  • daily and weekly limits on hours of work
  • daily rest periods
  • time off between shifts
  • weekly/bi-weekly rest periods
  • eating periods
  • three hour rule
  • overtime pay
  • public holidays or public holiday pay
  • vacation with pay

Farm employees

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