Every worker in Canada is entitled to a safe and healthy work environment. If you’re in an abusive job situation, you can apply for an open work permit for vulnerable workers.
An open work permit lets you work for almost any employer in Canada. It will help you leave an abusive situation to find a new job. There is no fee to apply. This work permit is temporary but should give you enough time to find a new employer and apply for a new work permit.
Who is eligible?
Workers in Canada who:
- hold a valid employer-specific work permit (or have applied to renew one) and
- are being abused or at risk of being abused in relation to their job in Canada.
Family members in Canada can also apply.
What is abuse?
Any behaviour that scares, controls or isolates you could be abuse. Abuse can be physical, sexual, financial or mental and can include:
- physical harm, threats or insults;
- unwanted sexual comments or touching;
- controlling where you go or which people you see;
- stealing from you or taking money you have earned.
How can I apply?
You need to apply online for this work permit. You need a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents. Read the instructions at Canada.ca/vulnerable-foreign-workers.
If you can’t apply online because of a disability, or if there’s a problem with our online application system, go to the IRCC office closest to you or contact the Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100 for more information..
What documents do I need to provide?
Mandatory letter describing the abuse
Other evidence may include:
- letter, statement or report from an abuse support organization or medical professional;
- sworn statement by the applicant;
- copy of a complaint filed with an enforcement agency;
- other supporting material (for example, copies of emails, photos, witness testimonies);
- Digital photo;
- Marriage and birth certificates if you’re applying with family members.
What happens after I apply?
We aim to contact you within 5 business days after you apply. We may ask you to do an interview. If you’re approved, we will likely inspect your employer. We won’t contact them for any other reason. It is your choice to decide if you would like to participate in the inspection.