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Undocumented workers have rights. 
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Recent changes to laws have caused more and more migrant workers to become undocumented when they choose to stay in Canada and work. But do undocumented workers and people have rights? Yes, they do! And it’s becoming more and more important to know what rights and services are available. Here's important legal information to support migrant and undocumented workers in Ontario. 
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The 4 & 4 rule

The “4 and 4 rule” is one of the many recent regulatory changes that are causing workers to have to leave Canada or become undocumented if they remain here and work. In this factsheet released earlier this year, you can find some more information on this new rule, how it applies to workers and what recourse workers have who are trying to regularize their status.

Your rights while working undocumented

Independently of the “4 & 4 rule”, some people might decide to stay in Canada past their work permit expiry date, and be left without status in Canada. But being undocumented does not mean they have no labour protections. In fact, provincial labour protections apply to ALL workers, regardless of immigration status, although exercising labour rights as an undocumented worker might be difficult. If you know any workers in that situation, share this fact sheet with them on Your Rights While Working Undocumented by the Workers Action Centre, a member of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. Undocumented workers can reach out to the Workers Action Centre or a community legal clinic in your community area if they want help filing a claim under provincial labour legislation.


Healthcare

Having access to health services is often one of the biggest worries that undocumented workers and families have. Community Health Centres, for example, can see patients without OHIP within their catchment areas. You can find your nearest CHC here, make sure to call first to find out what their protocols are when dealing with undocumented residents. Also, most Toronto Public Health Services should be completely accessible for undocumented residents. An organization called Health 4 All has created this comprehensive list of health service providers for the uninsured in the Toronto area. 

 
Undocumented people’s rights as tenants

In Ontario, everyone who pays rent, included undocumented people, is protected by tenant rights legislation. The website of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association has information on  provincial tenant rights in 23 different languages.

In February 2014, Hamilton became the 2nd city in Canada to adopt a Sanctuary City motion. Toronto passed it in 2013.
Live in Toronto or Hamilton? They are Sanctuary Cities

The City of Toronto and the City of Hamilton have passed Sanctuary Policies. These policies are meant to make city services accessible to residents, regardless of their immigration status in Canada. Be mindful that not all services are fully funded by the City, but rather might also be funded by the Provincial or Federal government. Often this means that those services will have different accessibility policies. Always make sure you call ahead and ask what their policy is on serving undocumented residents. See a list of services available in Toronto developed by Social Planning Toronto here. More accessible Toronto services are also listed here

Free Legal Services

In Ontario, community legal clinics can offer free legal services to folks regardless of their immigration status if they live in their catchment area. There are also ethnic-specific clinics that service certain populations across the province. Visit this website to find the clinic that services your area using your postal code.
 

Arrests, Detentions and Deportations

No One Is Illegal Toronto, another MWAC member, collaborated with the Law Union of Ontario to create this useful factsheet and video in English, Spanish and French regarding undocumented migrants’ rights regarding interactions with police and immigration enforcement. 

Sending children to school

According to the Ontario Education Act, all undocumented children who are under 18 are entitled to go to school. However, different school boards implement this Provincial law differently and some advocacy is often required to get children into school. For more info on this, see the Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) materials on this issue. For help advocating to get a child in school, contact a community legal clinic or our member organization No One Is Illegal - Toronto.

Copyright © 2015 Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, All rights reserved.


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