Ontario welcomes workers from many countries to work in agri-food operations each year.

Find resources for international agri-food workers (IAWs) on this page.

Learn about:

  • supports and programs
  • your rights as an international agri-food worker
  • safety
  • other information that will help you live and work safely

Worker rights

Employment rights and obligations in Ontario

Foreign nationals employed or attempting to find employment in Ontario through an immigration or foreign temporary employee program have rights under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act and the Employment Standards Act.

The Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act prohibits recruiters and employers from:

  • charging you any fees or recovering any costs, including any related to hiring you (with one exception related to some seasonal agriculture workers)
  • taking your property and documents, such as passport or work permit
  • intimidating or penalising you for asking about or asserting your rights under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act

The Employment Standards Act covers employment standards such as the minimum wage and limits on hours of work.

If you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a claim or call the Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551. Service is available in 23 languages.

Your rights are protected

You have rights protected by law while working in Ontario, including rights related to employment, housing, healthcare and protection from abuse.

The Canadian government has resources in eight languages (including Latin American Spanish) to help you understand your rights as an international agri-food worker. Read Employment and Social Development Canada’s guide to your rights as an international agri-food worker (also available in Latin American Spanish).

Report misuse or abuse

Report misuse or abuse of workers or the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Call the toll-free Service Canada Confidential Tips Line at 1-866-602-9448.

You can talk to a Service Canada agent in more than 200 languages.

Workplace health and safety

You have the right to a safe workplace. Call the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008 (Toll-free TTY: 1-855-653-9260) if:

  • you believe conditions in a workplace are unsafe
  • if you or someone else is experiencing harassment or violence on the job

The number operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and service is available in 23 languages.

Drugs, alcohol and the workplace

Understand the dangers and penalties of being impaired while working. Find mental health and addiction services in your community.

Adjusting to life in Ontario

Get settled in Ontario

Find a settlement agency to help you find the services you need while living and working, including finding an interpreter or translator, getting information on social services and finding housing.

Events in your region

Use Destination Ontario to find information on community events, information about your region and things to do near you.

Orientation to Ontario workbook

Find information for newcomers in the Orientation to Ontario workbook (also available in Latin American Spanish).

Orientation to Ontario webinars

Watch the Orientation to Ontario virtual webinar series. Learn about topics like transportation and driving, mental health, adjusting to Canada, education opportunities, and accessing programs and services.

Migrant Worker Support Program

Economic and Social Development Canada funds projects to help international agri-food workers access information, services and support. Programs funded under the Migrant Worker Support Program include:

  • Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services operates support services in the Toronto Pearson International Airport, including language support in English, French, Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin, Ukrainian and Russian. Polycultural supports workers arriving in Ontario by providing orientation services, educational materials and referrals to community organisations to receive direct services.
  • The Neighbourhood Organization’s (TNO) objective is to create welcoming communities to improve the safety, well-being and integration of workers and allow them to feel a sense of belonging. TNO works collaboratively with Polycultural to provide information packages to arriving Temporary Foreign Workers.
  • Workforce Windsor Essex reaches Temporary Foreign Workers through events, information sharing, educational materials and other support services. With a focus on the Windsor-Essex-Chatham-Kent-Sarnia-Lambton areas, Workforce Windsor Essex develops community organisations’ knowledge and capacity to provide resources and services to migrant workers.

Local international agri-food worker support service organisations

Consular offices

Find your country’s consular office to reach your country’s officials or representatives during your stay.

Filing taxes

Some international agri-food workers must pay federal and provincial taxes on income earned in Ontario. In most cases, your employer will automatically deduct income tax from your pay. Read the Government of Canada’s guide on taxation and seasonal agricultural workers.

Healthcare rights and responsibilities

Healthcare and emergency services

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association has information in English, Latin American Spanish and Thai to help you learn about:

  • accessing healthcare in emergency and non-emergency situations
  • calling 911
  • mental and emotional health

Call 911

If you have an immediate health emergency, or an emergency requiring other emergency services (police, fire or ambulance) call 911.

911 can be dialed from any phone. The call is free, even when calling from a pay phone or cellphone. Service is available in non-English languages, with language support dependent on region.

Be prepared to give the exact location of the emergency:

  • Provide a street address rather than landmarks to help emergency services respond quickly.
  • All Ontario property owners must display their address number.
  • Look for an address number near a building’s entrance, on a mailbox or on a reflective 911 address sign along a road.

You can also determine your exact location using what3words, a smartphone app and website that creates location keywords. A what3words keyword can precisely identify a location away from streets and buildings. 34 municipal police organisations and the Ontario Provincial Police use and accept what3words addresses. Knowing your location can also be helpful in determining services and supports available in your region.

For non-emergency health questions contact Health811 online or call 811 from your phone. Service is available in more than 100 languages.

Mental health and wellness

Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc. has posters to help you find local health and psychosocial assistance in 9 regions across Ontario.

Ontario Health Insurance Plan eligibility

Through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), the province pays for many of the health services you may need. Once you apply and your application is approved, you will receive an Ontario health card that will prove you are covered by OHIP. There is no cost to receive an Ontario health card or to receive health services fully covered under OHIP.

All OHIP applications must include the following documents:

If you are an international agri-food worker who has held an Ontario health card with a valid photo and signature within the last five years, you can apply by mail. Photocopies of documents are acceptable for mailed-in renewals. Mail your OHIP application to:

Address: ServiceOntario Hamilton
119 King Street West, 4th Floor
Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y7

If you are an international agri-food worker who has never held an Ontario health card or who had not held an Ontario health card with a valid photo and signature within the last five years, you must apply in-person. Bring your application and documents to a valid ServiceOntario location. Find a ServiceOntario location near you or call 1-800-267-8097.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board coverage

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is an agency of the provincial government that provides support and insurance for workers injured on the job in Ontario, including wage-loss benefits, medical coverage and return-to-work services.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board provides a guide for foreign agricultural workers who have been injured at work.

Public Health Units

Public Health Units offer disease prevention information and healthy living programs like health education, sexual health support, parenting education and immunisations (services may vary by location), and can help you get a COVID‑19 vaccine. Find your local Public Health Unit here.

Flu shots

The flu (influenza) is a contagious virus that anyone can get. The virus changes frequently, making it important that you get a flu shot every year.

Flu shots are now available to all people living in Ontario who are six months of age and older. They are free, safe and the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Individuals aged six months and over may receive a flu shot at the same time as, or at any time before or after a COVID‑19 vaccine.

During flu season you can get a free flu shot from:

  • your doctor or nurse practitioner
  • participating pharmacies (2 years of age and older)
  • some public health units


Finding a vaccine clinic

Getting vaccinated and staying up to date with your COVID‑19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against severe outcomes from COVID‑19 and its variants. As an IAW in Ontario, you are eligible to receive a free COVID‑19 vaccine even if you do not yet have an Ontario health card.

To find out how to book an appointment or if you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre to speak to an agent or health specialist. Service is available in more than 300 languages from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week (excluding holidays).

Toll-free: 1-833-943-3900

Toll-free TTY: 1-866-797-0007 (for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired, or speech-impaired)

For support in your preferred language, press 3 following the automated message in English and French. When prompted, press 1 and wait for a person to answer the call to ask for a translator in an additional language.

You will need photo identification to verify your name and date of birth, such as:

  • a passport
  • a pay stub
  • a birth certificate
  • a club or organisation ID card
  • a form of government-issued identification from your home country

If you do not have a single document that includes your name, date of birth and photo, please bring more than one document to support your identity. Expired identity documents will be accepted for these purposes.

If you do not have identity documentation or you are unable to provide verification of primary place of residence, you can work with your public health unit, employer, or community organisations to verify your identity. This can be provided in the form of a letter from your employer or community organisation.

Access free at-home rapid antigen tests

Rapid antigen tests are easy-to-use tests that can be taken at home to confirm the presence of COVID‑19. Results from these tests can be available in as little as 15 minutes. Ontario has expanded access to free rapid testing kits to the general public for at-home use. Tests are available at grocery and pharmacy locations across the province. Find a participating grocery and pharmacy retailer.

Access free rapid antigen tests for your organisation

The Provincial Antigen Screening Program provides organisations access to free rapid antigen tests to help prevent the spread of COVID‑19 in the workplace, break the chain of transmission for COVID‑19, and support business continuity. Check your eligibility and apply to the Provincial Antigen Screening Program.

Molecular testing

If you have symptoms of COVID‑19 and are an international agri-food worker who lives in a group setting, you are eligible for molecular testing. Check your eligibility and find local testing locations.

COVID‑19 testing and treatment information

Find more information on COVID‑19 testing and treatment.

Human trafficking

About human trafficking

Human trafficking can include recruiting, harbouring or controlling a person’s movements using force, coercion or deception. Learn about human trafficking, including how it can happen, who is at risk and warning signs.

If there is immediate danger or if you suspect someone is being trafficked, call 911 or your local police service.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, call the Canadian human trafficking hotline at 1-833-900-1010. The hotline is confidential, toll-free, open 24/7 and available in more than 200 languages.

Labour trafficking

Labour trafficking is a form of human trafficking that involves recruiting, moving or holding victims to coerce them into doing any kind of work. This can include workers who are:

  • deceived or coerced into a work contract
  • exploited for their labour through unsafe work
  • made to work excessive hours
  • underpaid, not paid or forced to give most of their earnings to the trafficker
  • kept in a precarious situation through debt bondage, violence, and threats (including the loss of a work permit, losing immigration status or deportation)

If you or someone you know may be subject to labour trafficking, you can share tips and get help by contacting the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development’s Divisional Intelligence Unit at labourtrafficking@ontario.ca.

Get help if your employer is breaking the rules

Learn how to report employer abuse safely and confidentially in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program through this resource from the Government of Canada.

Living and working safely in the community


Ontario’s police officers are professionals who work with the highest level of integrity to support, serve and protect all residents and guests — including international agri-food workers. Effective policing is vital so that all people in Ontario can live in safety in their communities.

Police work closely with communities to uphold public safety and can help you if you have been a victim of a crime. Ontario police services prevent crime, enforce our laws, help victims, keep public order and respond to emergencies.

Policing at a provincial level is done by the Ontario Provincial Police. The Ontario Provincial Police also provides policing services for municipalities who do not have their own police service.

There are 43 municipal police services in Ontario as well as 9 self-administered First Nations police services. These police services operate in smaller jurisdictions than the Ontario Provincial Police and are set up by Ontario’s municipalities.

Complaints about the rules and standards of a police service or complaints relating to how effectively and efficiently a particular service performs its duties can be directed to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. Contact the Office of the Independent Police Review Director or call the toll-free phone number at 1-877-411-4773.


As part of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, employers must provide suitable housing for international agri-food workers and proof that the housing was inspected. Learn more about the Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program requirements.

Driving and roads

A driver’s licence is needed to legally drive in Ontario. Find out how to obtain a driver’s licence.

Impaired driving

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous and illegal. Know the dangers and penalties of driving while impaired by alcohol, cannabis or other substances.

Pedestrian safety

Collisions between vehicles and pedestrians can be fatal. Avoid them by knowing where and how to cross the street, which side of the road to use and how to stay safe when walking.

Bicycle safety

To avoid collisions with vehicles, it is important to know where you can and cannot cycle, which side of the road to use and what to do when being passed by a vehicle. Learn about bike safety on Ontario’s roads:

Rural safety

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association has videos and factsheets in English, Latin American Spanish and Thai on driving on rural roads and operating farm machinery.

Swimming and water safety

Water safety knowledge is essential to prevent drowning whether in open water or pools. Read the Canadian Red Cross’s safety tips for swimming, boating and water activities and the Ontario Lifesaving Society’s water safety information for new Canadians.