Canada’s most comprehensive annual report on the challenges facing migrant farm workers has been released by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA). It confirms that abuse and exploitation of migrant farm workers are rampant in Canada’s agriculture industry.
For more than two decades UFCW Canada has been a leading advocate for farm workers’ rights, and in association with the AWA which operates 10 agriculture worker support centres across Canada.
In 2010, more than 40,000 migrant workers toiled in the Canadian agriculture industry. If they raise any workplace, safety or housing concerns, migrant workers are typically repatriated and blacklisted from ever working in Canada again.
“The denial of human rights should not be the foundation for Canada’s food supply system,” says UFCW Canada and AWA president Wayne Hanley. “But as the report details, that’s exactly what’s happening to migrant farm workers. Even worse, it’s happening with the blessing of the federal government which turns a blind eye to the dangers and abuse migrants are forced to accept if they want to keep their jobs.”
The 2010-2011 Status of Migrant Farm Workers in Canada report is available in English, French and Spanish, and can be downloaded at: www.ufcw.ca/migrantreport.