Help and Protection For Victims

There are numerous programs and services available to trafficking victims including: health care; emergency housing; social services including community help; and legal aid (assistance) programs under which eligibility is based primarily upon financial need.

Emergency services (9-1-1 or "0")

If you are in need of immediate assistance, dial 9-1-1, or ’0’ for the operator, and your call will be connected to the police, fire department and ambulance service.

Victim Services

To find victim services in your local community, search the Victim Services Directory.

The Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI) at the Department of Justice Canada works toward improving the experience of victims of crime in the criminal justice system. PCVI engages in legislative reform, consultation, policy development, research, and project funding. PCVI does not however provide criminal injuries compensation to victims of crime.

Emergency shelters

Most cities and towns have safe places where you can go right away if you have nowhere to live or if you are in danger and need a safe place to stay. You can find the telephone number in the telephone book, at the library or from the police.

Doctor and hospital care

If you are sick, you can go to a doctor’s office or hospital. In some cities there are health clinics where you can get medical care without answering any questions about who you are or what work you do.

Community help

Many organizations in Canada help people in trouble. There are rape crisis services, houses for abused women, organizations for newcomers to Canada, legal clinics for people who cannot afford a lawyer, special services for victims of crime and religious groups that provide many different support services. People from your home country who now live in Canada may get together to support and help each other. You can find out how to reach these groups at a community centre, at a public library, in the phone book or by asking people.

Canadian Crime Stoppers Association National Tipline (1-800-222-8477)

If you wish to anonymously report a case of trafficking, please call Crime Stoppers National Tipline at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).

Temporary Resident Permits- Victims of Human Trafficking

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) can help protect victims of trafficking by securing their immigration status with a special temporary resident permit (TRP). A TRP provides legal immigration status in Canada to potential victims and may be issued for up to 180 days. Depending on the person’s situation, TRPs can be reissued at the end of the 180 day period.

Victims of trafficking who receive a TRP are eligible for health-care benefits and trauma counselling, and may also apply for a work permit.

In Canada, victims of trafficking are not required to testify against their trafficker to gain temporary or permanent resident status. There is no fee for an initial TRP or a work permit for victims of trafficking.

For more information, please see: Protection and assistance for victims of human trafficking .

Temporary Foreign Workers

Canadian law protects all workers in Canada, including temporary foreign workers. Your employer:

  • must pay you for your work;
  • must make sure that your workplace is safe; and,
  • cannot take your passport or work permit away from you.

Every province and territory has an office that deals with labour and employment laws. A person at your local employment or labour standards office can talk to you about fair pay, hours of work, rest periods, working conditions and provide other services.

For more information, please see: Temporary foreign workers – Your rights are protected.

Witness Protection

Canada has laws to protect victims against intimidation or retaliation if they report these criminal offences or testify against their trafficker. It is an offence to intimidate a justice system participant (a victim or witness) and is punishable by a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Witness Protection Operations may be available to safeguard persons who are assisting police. This protection can include relocation, accommodation, change of identity, counselling, and financial support to ensure the person’s security and help them re-establish their life and become self-sufficient. British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec manage their own witness protection programs.

Victim Testimony Assistance

Canada’s broad legal framework also includes a variety of provisions to assist a victim or witness to testify in a criminal proceeding against a trafficker.

These provisions in the Criminal Code include testimonial aids to assist vulnerable witnesses in providing their testimony. The judge may allow the presence of a support person during testimony or testimony via closed-circuit television or behind a screen or other device. A judge may also allow evidence to be received through the use of audio or video technology. Judges may also order the exclusion of the public from the courtroom and impose a publication ban to prevent the publication, broadcast or transmission of any information that could identify a victim or witness.

Responsibilities for Protection of Victims

Protection of victims is a shared responsibility between the federal Government and the Provinces/Territories. Services provided to victims of human trafficking are administered by the Provinces/Territories who may receive funding from the federal Government.

The Government of Canada develops and implements measures to protect victims of crime in general, and victims of trafficking in particular. The RCMP, CBSA and other law enforcement agencies also develop and provide training so front-line officers are sensitive to the special needs of victims.

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