Workers’ rights must be protected.
Some workers are particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of in the workplace, such as new immigrants, temporary foreign workers or international students. Many of these newcomers don’t fully know their rights, are sometimes too afraid to speak up if they feel something is wrong, and don’t know where to turn to for help.
It’s important for workers and employers to know that, no matter what a person’s immigration status is, they have the same rights as every other B.C. worker — rights every B.C. employer has a legal obligation to uphold.
If you are working in our province, your employer must:
- pay you for the hours you have worked and pay at least the minimum wage;
- ensure that your workplace is safe from potential risks and injuries;
- give you appropriate break time and days off;
- and pay overtime when earned.
Your employer cannot:
- force you to perform duties that you were not hired or trained to do;
- force you to work if you are sick or injured;
- take your passport or work permit away;
- have you deported from Canada or change your immigration status;
- or make you pay to work or pay back fees they paid to hire you.
You should also expect a respectful working environment and know that workplace bullying is unacceptable. Workplace bullying and harassment can take many forms — including verbal aggression, personal attacks and other intimidating or humiliating behaviours — and have far-reaching impacts on worker health and safety, leading to absenteeism, lost productivity, depression and anxiety.
The vast majority of employers provide good jobs where people feel safe and respected. All of us can do a better job understanding what our rights are and knowing when to speak up or where to turn for help.
Our government is working to better protect these rights with a number of actions, including a transformation of the Employment Standards Branch to more effectively investigate complaints and ensure compliance and enforcement in the workplace.
We are also committed to establishing a provincial temporary foreign worker registry that will help protect vulnerable workers from exploitation and enable us to track the use of temporary foreign workers in the provincial economy. And we are increasing efforts to ensure every worker knows their rights and every employer knows their obligations through improved educational outreach and awareness of B.C.’s employment standards.
If you feel your employer isn’t respecting your rights as a worker, you feel bullied by your employer or co-workers, or you simply have questions about your rights, please know that help is available.
Dangerous or unsafe work? Feeling bullied or harassed?
Call WorkSafeBC: 1 888 621-7233
Problem with your pay or work hours? Questions about your rights?
Call the Employment Standards Branch: 1 800 663-3316
Want to anonymously report abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program?
Call Service Canada: 1 866 602-9448
Questions or concerns about your immigration status?
Call Service Canada: 1 888 242-2100