Mission and History

Our Mission

The Association for the Rights of Household and Farm Workers (RHFW/DTMF) is a non-profit community organization founded in 1975 and incorporated in 1977. Our mission is to ensure that the work done in private households and on farms is recognized, respected, and valued.

Canada relies heavily on migrant workers to perform work in private households and on farms. The RHFW believes that securing fair and decent work conditions for household and farm workers cannot be achieved without deep-seated reforms of Canada’s immigration policies and regulations.

Our History

The religious community of the Institute of Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil was one of the first groups to offer help and support to workers employed in private residences. They helped build shelters for young women travelling to Montreal from the countryside and refugee camps abroad looking for employment as domestic workers.

In 1947, with the help of a woman named Marie Gérin-Lajoie, one of these shelters became the Social Assistance Center for Immigrants. In the late 1970s, the Association for the Rights of Household Workers of Montreal was founded as a response to the excessive power of employers over the conditions of employment. The organization brought together various actors, creating a valuable community of support. A year later, in 1977, the Montreal Association for the Rights of Household Workers was recognized as an independent, non-profit organization.

In 1998, the organization centred its work on temporary foreign caregivers in Quebec, and officially adopted the Caregivers’ Association of Québec as its name (L’Association des Aides Familiales du Québec – AAFQ). Until 2015, the AAFQ actively brought together workers employed in private family residences – whether part-time or full-time, live-in or not. Members came from diverse backgrounds and were united by a shared desire to improve the conditions of domestic work, as well as change public perception of domestic work. Relying on the work of volunteers, and a difficult context for community funding, the organization stopped providing individualized services for workers at the end of 2015.

Today, the organization’s work is focused on the collective defence of rights projects – in particular, the reform of Canadian laws (both federal and provincial) that have a direct impact on the fundamental rights of workers employed within a private household or on the land surrounding the residence of their employer. On July 8th, 2016, the organization took back its original 1977 name, The Association for the Rights of Household Workers, and clarified that its mission also includes individuals employed as agricultural workers.

Some of our victories over the years

  • Inclusion of domestic workers in Québec’s Loi sur les normes du travail.
  • Raising awareness over the precariousness of employer-tied temporary foreign workers in Quebec and across Canada, which led, among other things, to regulatory changes aiming to address employers’ abuse of migrant household and farm workers.
  • Public awareness about the trafficking of domestic and farm workers.
  • Increased recognition and respect of the work done in private homes.
  • Significant contributions to the ILO for the adoption of International Convention C189 – Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers.

Association for the Rights of Household and Farm Workers (RHFW)

1340 St Joseph Blvd E,
Montréal, Québec
H2J 1M3