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Open Work Permit For Abused Foreign Workers In Canada

Know Open Work Permit For Abused Foreign Workers In Canada

Last Updated On 13 September 2023, 9:41 AM EDT (Toronto Time)

If you are being abused or are in danger of being abused at work in Canada, you may be eligible for an open work permit for vulnerable workers.

An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada except for those who:

  • are included on the list of employers who have failed to comply with the conditions or
  • offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services, or erotic massages regularly

This work permit protects your rights as a Canadian worker by allowing you to leave an abusive workplace and find a new job. However, it is only a short-term solution and:

  • has a time limit, and
  • cannot be extended

If you are granted this work permit, you can have adequate time to find a new job and apply for a new work permit.

However, if you wish to stay and work in Canada, you must apply for another work permit before your current one expires.

Examples of Abuse 

Abuse can be defined as any behaviour that scares, controls, or isolates you. Abuse can be physical, sexual, financial, or psychological.

Examples of Abuse you can report in your application include:

  • physical harm or injury
  • pushing you to labour in an improper or hazardous manner that endangers your health
  • living circumstances in employer-provided housing that are unsafe or unsanitary
  • sexual touching you did not consent to
  • making inappropriate sexual comments to you
  • deciding where you can go
  • taking advantage of you
  • preventing you from visiting friends or coworkers
  • keeping some or all of the money you are paid
  • threatening, insulting, and intimidating
  • compel you to commit fraud
  • a third party charging you fees for a job or making false promises

Who is eligible to apply for an open work permit?

You may apply if you meet the following:

  • Are located in Canada
    • Applications made at a port of entry will not be approved.
  • Possess a valid employer-specific work permit
    • This is a valid work permit with your employer’s name on it (or you applied to extend it before it expired)
  • Are you being abused or at risk of being abused because of your job in Canada?

How to apply for an open work permit? 

There are no fees to apply for this work permit, and you must apply online. Follow the steps below to apply. 

Step 1: Ensure that you have everything ready. 

You will need digital copies of your documents to apply online. As well as access to a scanner or camera to create copies of your documents. 

Step 2: Refer to the instruction guide. 

Even if you apply online, read the instructions before submitting your application. The guide will walk you through filling out each field on the form.

Step 3: Provide evidence to support your application 

One of the application requirements is that you must provide a letter of explanation to describe the following: 

  • More details about your situation 
  • The type of abuse you are facing or at risk of facing 

Moreover, use the following form to provide more information: 

  • IMM 0017 – Letter of Explanation-Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers 

Acceptable type of proof 

Do your best to include as much evidence as possible in your application, wherein types of evidence can include the following:

  • A letter, statement, or report from an abuse support organization, a medical practitioner, a health care professional, etc.
  • Sworn statement from yourself, often known as an affidavit
  • A copy of an official report you provided to a law enforcement agency, such as a police report or a report from the Canada Border Services Agency.
  • Statement of victim impact
  • text messages or emails
  • bank statements or pay stubs
  • photographs depicting accidents or working conditions
  • testimonies of witnesses

These are only a few examples of the evidence you can provide. You can include any other evidence applicable to your situation. 

To upload evidence and a letter of explanation, go to the Client Information field underneath the Optional Documents. If you are attaching multiple documents, combine them and upload them as one file. 

Step 4: Sign into your account or create a new account. 

You will need to sign in or create a new account to apply. You can use this account for the following:

  • application submission 
  • to upload a document 
  • to check the status of your application 

Step 5: Follow the application process. 

To access the application, sign in to your account and then follow the instructions below:

  • In the “Start an application” section, select “Apply to come to Canada.”
  • Then select “Visitor visa, study or work permit.” 
  • Using the online tool, answer the following questions:
    • What would you like to do in Canada? Select “work”
    • What is your current country/ territory of residence? Select “Canada”
    • Do you have a written job offer? select “no”
    • Does this situation apply to you? You have a valid employer-specific work permit and are being abused or there is a risk of being abused in relation to your job in Canada?” Select “Yes”
  • When you come to the “Your results” screen, select “Open work permit for vulnerable workers.”

Next, you may be asked if you gave biometrics in the past; if you have, you do not need to give them again.

If not, you may need to provide them, but there is no fee for this application. When asked about the cost, select the option that states you are exempt from paying it.

For more details, refer to IRCC’s official page.


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