Demand fairness for migrant farm workers

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The Seasonal Agricultural Workers program is a guest worker program that has brought thousands of Caribbean and Mexican migrant farm workers to toil in fields across Canada and put food on our tables. 

Migrant workers under this program are tied to their employer, have no access to residency status and must return home after their contract.

Over the past fifty-three years countless workers have described the conditions under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers program as inhumane and unjust. From being sent home for standing up for their rights at work to being denied equal access to our healthcare system, migrant workers face differential treatment than residents of Canada.

Temporary migration has become a permanent feature of Canada’s agricultural industry. A fact that the current federal government fails to acknowledge. Recent proposed reforms are toothless and retains the inherent power imbalance that leave migrant workers employed under precarious conditions.

For over 50 years Caribbean and Mexican workers have formed the backbone of the industry and denied basic rights that were previously granted to European farm workers who toiled these same fields before them.

Being tied to an employer creates vulnerable working and living conditions that further imperil migrant farm workers to dangerous and precarious conditions. Whether it’s workplace deaths such as Ned Livingston Peart, or Sheldon McKenzie  Jamaican migrant workers killed in workplace accidents to the forced DNA sweep of 100 Caribbean migrant workers near London, Ontario migrant workers are subjected to differential treatment that must end.

Migrant workers and allies are organizing to demand that the Canadian government, and in particular Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino provide residency status for all migrant workers. We the undersigned echo and endorse this demand.

Status for all migrant workers.