Research and Publications


The RHFW regularly conducts research, publishes reports, and presents policy submissions to raise awareness about state restrictions on the fundamental rights of migrant care and farm workers in Canada.


Band-aid on a bullet wound: Open work permits for employer-tied migrant workers facing workplace abuse (2021)

An empirical evaluation of the Canadian Open work permit for vulnerable workers policy.

In June 2019, the federal government implemented the Open work permit for vulnerable workers policy. This policy allows immigration officers to issue open work permits to migrant workers on an employer-specific work permit who can demonstrate reasonable grounds to believe that they are experiencing abuse or are at risk of abuse in the context of their employment in Canada.

Launched one year after the measure came into force, this research project sought to assess the policy’s potential to act as a remedy capable of negating the problematic large-scale effects of the employer-specific work permit and whether it had been implemented efficiently from a client-experience perspective. The research confirmed that the policy leaves unaffected the structural obstacles that prevent workers from being able to legally change employers. Read more here.

Regulatory and Policy Developments in Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Programs (2019)

Important reforms to Canada’s temporary labour migration programs were implemented in 2019, and other possible changes were also announced. This is a broad overview of four significant policy changes at the federal level; two that have been implemented and two that are still under development. Read more here.

Migrant Care and Farm Workers, Canadian Law, and Unfree Labour (2018)

The employer-tying policies of Canada’s temporary foreign worker programs, such as those used in the Live-in Caregiver Program and the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), have never been explicitly scrutinized by Canadian courts through the lens of either section 7 of the Charter or section 96 of the Constitution Act. Using principles emanating from Canadian constitutional jurisprudence, and from jurisdictions with comparable constitutional frameworks, this synthesis sets out in broad terms why the employer-tying policies incorporated into Canadian temporary foreign worker programs are grossly incompatible with the constitutional rights of migrant workers in Canada and should be declared invalid. Read more here.

Care Worker Voices for Landed Status and Fairness (2018)

Collective publication with Pinay, Caregivers’ Action Centre, Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights, Caregiver Connections, Education and Support Organization, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change and Migrante Alberta. Read more here.

Policy Submissions

Mémoire à la Commission de l’économie et du travail de l’Assemblée nationale sur le projet de loi nº59 (2021)

In October 2020, the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité Sociale introduced a new bill that would modify Quebec’s work, health and safety regime in order to end the discriminatory treatment of domestic workers, who have historically been excluded from the automatic protection extended to all other workers. However, the new bill incorporates an exclusion for domestic workers based on the number of hours worked. RHFW submitted a brief arguing that the new exclusion perpetuates the discrimination and called for the government to extend to domestic workers the same type of protection offered to all other workers. Read more here.

Joint Response to the CBSA’S Trafficking in Persons Questionnaire (2021)

As part of  Canada’s  2019  National  Strategy to  Combat  Human  Trafficking,  the  CBSA’s  Trafficking in Persons  Analyst  Group sought the input of NGO’s in order to produce a baseline national and regional assessment of the scope of trafficking in persons in Canada. RHFW, in partnership with Services Étoile Filante (SEF), submitted a brief outlining how Canadian immigration law contributes to the trafficking of individuals who come to Canada as temporary foreign workers. The brief included a summary of a recent Quebec case that aptly illustrates how the trafficking of migrant workers happens through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Read more here.

Migrant Caregivers, Canadian Immigration Policies and Human Trafficking (2018)

Written submissions to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (JUST) – Study on Human Trafficking in Canada. Read more here.

Necessary reforms for the respect of migrant caregivers’ fundamental rights in Canada (2018)

Written submissions to IRCC by MigrantWorkersRights and RHFW outlining the need for a comprehensive review of Canada’s Caregiver Program. Read more here.

Academic Publications

Band-Aid on a Bullet Wound—Canada’s Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers Policy (2022)

Article in the special issue of Laws “Vulnerability and the Legal Protection of Migrants: A Critical Look at the Canadian Context”. Read here.

State restriction of workers’ rights to equality, liberty, security and access to justice through employer-tied labour (im)migration programmes: The Canadian example (2021)

Paper featured in “The future of diversity” published by the International Labour Organization. Read here.

Employer-tied labour migration vs migrant workers’ right not to be held in involuntary servitude: Lessons from the UK, Isreal, and USA (2018)

Paper presented at the Migrants at Work legal conference at Queens University. Read here.

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

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