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Experiencing Abuse during Employment?

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Experiencing Abuse during Employment?

For individuals facing abuse or exploitation in their Canadian workplace, there is an option available – the open work permit for vulnerable workers. This type of open work permit is designed to protect the rights of workers in Canada who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing abuse or exploitation at their place of employment. It provides a temporary solution, with an expiry date and no option for renewal.


According to IRCC, migrant workers in Canada with valid employer-specific work permits facing or at risk of employment-related abuse may qualify for an LMIA-exempt open work permit. IRCC provides the following definition of abuse:


    • Physical abuse, encompassing assault and forcible confinement.
    • Sexual abuse, which includes non-consensual sexual contact.
    • Psychological abuse, involving threats and intimidation.
    • Financial abuse, which entails fraud and extortion.


To apply for an open work permit in cases of abuse, migrant workers should follow these steps:


1. Apply directly to IRCC for an open work permit for vulnerable workers through an online application.


2. Include a letter of explanation in the online application describing the abuse or risk of abuse, along with any supporting evidence.

Using “the Letter of Explanation – Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers (IMM0071)” as template would be a great start. 


You cannot apply for this work permit at a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office at the border. Migrant workers must already be in Canada to be eligible for this permit. Migrant workers can also contact IRCC in the following ways to inquire about obtaining an open work permit for vulnerable workers.


If you decide to apply for an open work permit, the CSC will guide you through the online application process. After receiving your online application, the relevant IRCC office will contact you with an interview date or provide you with information about the next steps.


    • Visit an IRCC office in person during working hours for information on how to apply. This service is intended to provide guidance on the application process. If a migrant worker has a disability preventing them from applying online or encounters an IRCC system outage, they can use paper forms and visit an IRCC office or contact the CSC. Please note that IRCC employees cannot assist with filling out forms.


    • Reach out to relevant support organizations, such as settlement service providers or enforcement agencies, for assistance. These organizations are encouraged to help workers applying to IRCC and should direct migrant workers to the IRCC website, the CSC, or the nearest IRCC office for application information.


For more information, you may visit IRCC website.

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